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Recharge card sellers: Different strokes for different folks

They sell various denominations of recharge cards of the different GSM communication companies operating in the country. Specifically, cards bearing airtel, MTN, glo, etisalat, visafone,…

They sell various denominations of recharge cards of the different GSM communication companies operating in the country. Specifically, cards bearing airtel, MTN, glo, etisalat, visafone, starcomm, etc are to be found among recharge card sellers across the country.

Recharge card sellers are in the business, naturally, to make profit and not loss, and to enable them meet daily needs and possibly save money for future use, such as to start a bigger business, further their education, or do any such thing that are of interest to them and which they can afford.


Miss Rose who is 27 years old says she sells recharge cards of the different networks. She sounds happy to do the business. To her, recharge card selling is better than many other businesses. She says she is being practical about it because although she may have liked something more profitable, she does not have enough capital for other businesses she may have chosen.

She says that although she started the business two years ago and has grown gradually, the profit she makes in a month is between N5000 and N6000

She has her WASSCE and is praying to further her education in due course, preferably after making a lot of income and saving much of it. She expresses the worry however that her dream may remain a dream for a long time unless she can expand the recharge card business by becoming an agent to any of the telecommunications companies or take to a more profitable business.


Fred Igwowe, 25, who is also into the business of recharge card selling, says the business yields little gain because of production of fake cards.

All the same, he says he sells various networks, like glo, MTN, etisalat, airtel and visa.  The reason for going into this business, he says, is the general difficulty with living in the country.

“I am badly affected by the economic problem ravaging the country,” Igwoye says.

Things were so rough for him that he did not even have money of his own to start the recharge card selling business.

“I had to be supported by my elder sister who gave me the sum of N3,000 which I used in starting the business,” he says.

He is a distributor and a seller of MTN recharge card denominations and the company, MTN Nigeria, gives him one percent discount of his sales.

“The business is stressful, but for now, I have no alternative than to keep doing it,” he tells Sunday Trust.

Igwoye has his GCE which he says he will rely on to go for further studies as soon as he can find enough money and admission into a suitable higher institution.


Another recharge card seller, Olawale Adeyangu, says nothing good comes easy.  He discloses that he had been in the business while in SSS 3.  Until date, and unlike many, Adeyangu says the business is favourable because it has a lot of profit.

He says that like many business ventures, recharge card selling requires much endurance.

“I don’t find the business to be as stressful as some people complain,” he says, explaining, “the distributor brings the cards to us. I stay in my place to sell them. I do not have to walk the streets hawking them as many other people do their business.”

Friday Obah, a native of Delta State, says he left his home town in search of a little business he could lay his hands on.  He was advised by his friend to go into recharge card business.


A 38-year-old Mrs. Alade who is into the business says there is little gain in it because she purchases a few of the cards which she sells on daily basis.  She says she went into the business only because she needs to always hold money in her hands.

“You know, there is no food for a lazy man,” she explains.

Mrs Alade who has a secondary school certificate started the business last year, October 25th.  She feels that when someone buys one thousand naria recharge card, ‘there should be profit of N200, not forty-five naira,’ adding that a lot of her colleagues had withdrawn from the business entirely.

On his own, 40-year-old graduate of Bayero University, Kano, Bala Mu’allimu Usman, says recharge card selling is profitable and it is determined by how much is invested in it.  He says he began the business with N4,500 and that it has grown into a great business.  The higher the denomination one sells, he discloses, the higher the gain.  He says he sells about N300,000 worth of credit cards in a month at a profit of about N17,000.  He says he was fascinated into the business by the globalizing world in which everybody communicates with each other and businessmen transact their businesses through phone.


Mrs. Alakobi, a 30-year-old woman says she started the business seven years ago and to her own understanding, the business is just for survival and nothing more.  She sells the different networks which come to about  N400,000 in total value per month.

According to Mrs. Onwaka Dorathy who is 28 years of age and a graduate of University of Nigeria (UNN), ‘the business is enjoyable because there is no stress and is the easiest form of business’ that she knows well. She tells Sunday Trust that she makes about N48,000 in a month.

“Basically, those who enjoy the business very well are the wholesalers while the retailer enjoys a little gain,” Mrs Onwaka says.


“It is amazing that the business generates a lot of profit, I didn’t think it could be so worthwhile,” a seller,  Mr Obah, exclaims with excitement.

He recalls that he started the business with N12, 000 and has expanded gradually over time. Like his colleagues, he sells various networks like glo, MTN, visa, airtel, and etisalat.  He says he makes an average of N20, 000 in a month. He says he does not consider the business stressful because it does not demand use of physical power.

On her part, Mrs. Grace Joshua, a 51-year-old mother of six, says she started the business three years ago and sells different networks like glo, airtel, visa, etisalat, and MTN, excepting starcomm, which she says customers do not ask for.

According to her, the business is profitable because she gains N850 daily, translating to about N25, 000 in a month.

“I am grateful to God who has been helping me in the business, I give all the glory to God Almighty,” she says.

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