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Recharge card printing business: How to start it up in Nigeria with just N15,000

The recharge card business is one of the fast-moving businesses in Nigeria. More than a thousand stores in Nigeria, small kiosks and supermarkets alike, are involved in the selling of recharge cards. As at 2018, it was estimated that about 140 million people in Nigeria use a mobile phone. This invariably means that millions of recharge card PINS are purchased on a weekly basis. Not only are recharge cards useful for calls, they are also necessary to make data subscriptions.


Financial institutions are also not left out in this lucrative business. A platform known as virtual top-up has been devised to suit the various recharge needs of Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike. Several bank recharge codes now exist for individuals to top up their call and data balance through their mobile phones. These codes, however, vary from bank to bank.

It is no news that recharge card sales generate very little profit, especially on the part of the retailers; intending entrepreneurs could, however, generate more income if they learn to print the PINS themselves rather than buy from sub-dealers (this concept will be discussed later in the article).  In this article, you will learn how to start up a recharge card business with just N15,000.

Categories of recharge card sellers

Recharge card business is done in several ways and this can be grouped into three categories of sellers.

  1. Recharge card dealers. These groups of persons make the most profit in the recharge card business because they deal directly with the different telecommunication companies. They usually buy PINS in bulk and sell to the sub-dealers or retailers. It, however, cost more to become a major dealer.
  2. PIN sub-dealers. They purchase PINS directly from the dealers and sell to small retailers at a profit.
  3. This is the last category of recharge card sellers and with the most numerous individuals; they include roadside shops, small kiosks, super-market stores etc. A retailer sells at a very small profit but earns much if the turnover is high.

Steps involved in starting up a recharge card printing business

Initially, when the recharge card printing business started, prospective entrepreneurs were advised to have at least a N100,000 at hand before starting up, but as at 2018, small entrepreneurs can actively join the recharge card business with a capital as low as N15,000. This article is specifically meant for those who want to venture into the recharge card printing business proper. If the steps are properly followed, entrepreneurs can earn up to N1,000 weekly.

The first thing to do is to identify a credible recharge card dealer around you or in places within your city; there are quite a number of recognized dealer both online and offline. Ensure you confirm his or her identity, as well as his location before entrusting your money to his hands. Also take into consideration the cost of obtaining a network pin and make comparison with other dealers. Analyze multiple dealers before selecting which dealer is best to work with as a sub-dealer.

The next step is to make a cash deposit or transfer to dealer’s account. A N10,000 payment can purchase up to 100 recharge PINS depending on the network, certain telecommunication companies sell their PINS at a higher rate than others. You are advised to start with a lesser amount and increase amount when you are certain of the dealer’s loyalty.

After payment, contact the dealer (usually through a text message) to verify your payment, thereafter state your pin order indicating the number of PINS you want to purchase as well as the network. Remember to provide an email through which you will receive the recharge.

The last step is to print the PINS on a paper and distribute to retailers. Be careful to label the network correctly.

Required equipment for recharge card printing

In other to get a printed copy of the purchased recharge PINS, you will need the following:

  1. A computer or phone to access your email. You can visit a café if you do not have a pc.
  2. Internet access. This is particularly required to get the purchased PINS.
  3. A recharge card printing can also be done in a trusted computer centre. However, you must ensure you have adequate knowledge of how a computer and printer work.
  4. A USB flash drive. This is particularly important if you do not have a computer. Several network PINS can be stored in a flash drive and taken to a computer centre rather than using a public computer to access your email.
  5. Pre-printed papers (containing the network logo). A plain paper can also be used so far it is eligible enough and easily identifiable.

Other important considerations

To make the most out of your recharge card printing business, ensure you survey your proposed business environment to confirm that the business is likely to succeed. A local community or village where recharge card sub-dealer stores are located very far away from residence can be a good location to start up your business.

Other factors for consideration include; the personalities of persons living in the business environment, this is in other to determine if the residents can afford to purchase a card at least once, in two days, another factor to check for is access to a computer and printer.

Pitfalls for recharge card business in Nigeria

Recharge card business can be quite profiting if taken seriously. Also, note the following precautions.

  1. Avoid selling on credit. Remember that the business is all about ‘small profits, quick turnover’; offering continuous credit facility may ruin the business faster than you think.
  2. Avoid leaving your email open after using a public computer. Be sure to log out properly after every transaction.
  3. Ensure your PINS (soft copy and printed) is well protected from a third-party.

Precious Uka

Precious Oka writes for Naijadazz.