How to start a recharge card printing business in Nigeria

Most people recharge their phones every day to make calls and send messages, especially if they don’t make use of virtual top-up (VTU) services.

In this post, you will learn how to start a recharge card printing business in Nigeria.

How profitable is the recharge card printing business in Nigeria?

If people don’t recharge their phones, they can’t make calls, send SMS messages or subscribe to data.

While some of the youths and computer literate people use internet services to recharge their phones, a larger number of the population rely on physical recharge cards.

A recharge card printing business is very profitable in Nigeria. However, your total profit will depend on the level at which you operate. We will talk more about this later in this article.

Ensure you read to the end.

Which network is best for a recharge card printing business in Nigeria?

There are four network service providers in Nigeria as of the time of writing this article.

  • GLO
  • MTN
  • Airtel
  • 9 Mobile

To be honest, it depends on your location. In some parts of Nigeria, only 1 or 2 of these networks are available, and only the available networks will be used by people residing in such places.

Find out which network service provider is best in your region. If all of them are being used, you can decide to print for all networks or focus on all. However, that will depend on the amount of capital you have to start your recharge card printing business.

What are the requirements to start a recharge card printing business?

Here are the things you will need to get or prepare for before venturing into a recharge card printing business.

1. A laptop or desktop PC

2. An internet connection

3. A printing software

4. Printing machine

5. Recharge pins

6. Papers

Operation levels of the recharge card printing business

There are three different types of levels you can operate at whenever you want to start a recharge card or airtime printing business in this country.

1. Recharge card mega dealer

Say hi to the boss of the big boys. Airtime mega dealers are the biggest entities in the recharge card supply chain. Many of them operate in many states of Nigeria and make very large profits daily.

A mega dealer will buy recharge card pins in large quantities directly from network service providers (MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9 Mobile). They will then resell to wholesalers at their own rates, which is a little bit higher than the purchase price.

From there, they will make a large amount of profit.

2. Recharge card wholesalers

A wholesaler will buy airtime from a mega dealer and then resell it to retailers at a higher price. The difference between the purchase price and the selling price will be the profit of the wholesaler.

Being a wholesaler is very profitable, but you have to secure a reliable and consistent mega dealer that will sell recharge card pins to you at a good rate.

After that, you have to build a network of retailers that will buy recharge cards from you at discounted rates. You can work with as many retailers as you like.

3. Recharge card retailers

Retailers are the last suppliers in the recharge card printing business chain. They are the vendors and small shop owners that buy from wholesalers and then resell to end-users while earning a little profit off each sale.

Most recharge card retailers usually sell other things as well. That way, they will make a small profit from recharge cards as well as other products.

How much does it cost to start a recharge card printing business in Nigeria?

The starting capital varies, depending on the level you want to operate at. You will need around ₦10 million to be a recharge card mega dealer. The more you invest, the more your profit.

If you want to make a substantial profit as a recharge card wholesaler, then you will need around ₦100,000 or ₦150,000 to start your business.

As a retailer, you can have a small provision store and sell recharge cards as part of your items. You can start selling recharge cards with as little as ₦5,000. In fact, you can start with less than this amount if you want to sell ₦100 and ₦200 recharge cards.

How to start your recharge card printing business in Nigeria

As a mega dealer

If you have up to ₦10 million, you can buy recharge card E-pins in large quantities directly from MTN, Airtel, Glo or 9 Mobile. After the purchase, you can sell to wholesalers and make a profit.

As a wholesaler

To sell recharge cards as a wholesaler, you have to get around ₦100,000 to ₦150,000 and buy from a mega dealer.

You should also get a laptop and printer. On your laptop, you will buy software that will allow you to decrypt the E-pins that your mega dealer will send to your email. From there, you can reformat, print, and sell your recharge cards to retailers.

You should have a list of interested retailers that want to buy from you. You can start with shop owners in your neighbourhood and convince them to accept you as a supplier.

As a retailer

If you want to sell airtime as a retailer, it’s very straightforward. Just buy from one of the wholesalers in your region and buy as much quantity as you want. You can start with as little as ₦5,000 or less.

Alternatively, you can also get E-pins from a mega dealer if you have up to ₦100,000. That way, you can print recharge cards yourself, sell directly to end-users and make more profit without involving a wholesaler.


A recharge card printing business is very profitable in Nigeria. Although many youths make use of VTU and other internet methods to recharge their phones, many other age groups rely on physical recharge cards.

These types of people will be your target customers. However, that’s only if you choose to sell as a retailer. If you have enough capital, you can sell airtime as a mega dealer or wholesaler.

Disclaimer: While this article may give you an insight into how a recharge card business is operated, it is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances.

It is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be treated as one. If you have any questions or seek further knowledge, kindly refer to the recharge card vendors and wholesalers in your region.

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Victor Iyiola

Victor Iyiola

Victor Iyiola is a Content Writer with He has a great passion for Business, Finance, and Entrepreneurial topics. Victor is a big fan of
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