NALA money transfer review: Rates, fees & more (2023)

Adam Rozsa

Want to send money overseas? If you want to make a transfer to friends or family in Africa, a convenient online solution is NALA.

The money transfer app lets you send from the US to countries like Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria and more.

But how does it work, and how much does it cost? Find out everything you need to know below, in our full NALA money review.

We’ll also show you an alternative - Wise. You can send money worldwide with Wise, for low fees and great exchange rates.


What is NALA money transfer and how does it work?

NALA is an international money transfer app, offering its services to both personal customers and businesses.

Once you have the app, you can send money from the UK, US or EU to countries across Africa - all using just your phone.

The app is designed to help people make fast, secure payments to friends and family in Africa, as well as buying goods and paying bills directly.

NALA has offices in Nairobi, Kenya, as well as in the USA (Brooklyn, New York), the UK (London) and the Netherlands (Amsterdam).

What countries does NALA support?

With NALA, you can send money from the following countries:¹

  • USA
  • UK
  • EU

You can send to any of these African countries:¹

  • Kenya
  • Uganda
  • Tanzania
  • Ghana
  • Rwanda
  • Cameroon
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Senegal
  • Nigeria.

How much does NALA charge for transfers?

NALA doesn’t have upfront transfer fees, although a fee of $0.99 may apply if you’re sending to a bank account.²

But when considering the cost of a transfer with NALA, you also need to factor in exchange rates.

NALA adds a margin to the mid-market exchange rate when converting currency. This is a kind of fee, but it’s built into the rate.³

How does NALA make money?

As NALA doesn’t charge fees on many of its transfers (except bank to bank transfers), you might be wondering how it makes enough money to keep offering its services.

The answer lies in the exchange rate. NALA uses the mid-market exchange rate as the baseline for all of its transfers, but it then adds its own small percentage markup on top.

This helps NALA to cover its costs. Although from your perspective, it is a kind of transfer fee in itself. It means that less of your money reaches its destination.

Looking for an alternative to NALA? Try Wise

If you want better exchange rates with no margin on top, use Wise to send money internationally. It’s a great alternative to NALA, and could even work out cheaper for some destinations.

Wise is a money services business (MSB), offering a multi-currency account, international money transfer services and a debit card.

Open a Wise account online and you’ll get all these fantastic benefits:

  • Bank details in 9 currencies
  • The option to hold, send, spend and convert 40+ currencies at once
  • Send money overseas with low and transparent fees,
  • Order a Wise card for a one time fee of just $9 - for use in 150+ countries
  • Mid-market exchange rates on all transactions.

It’s quick, easy and free to open a Wise account online. And there’s even a handy Wise app so you can manage everything from your phone.

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing: Only Pay for What You Use for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.

A price comparison - Wise vs. NALA

To give you an idea of how much it costs to use NALA for a real-life transfer, let’s do a quick price comparison with Wise.

Let’s imagine you want to send $1,000 USD to a family member in Uganda. Here’s how much it’ll cost with both NALA and Wise:

Transfer feeExchange rateRecipient receives
NALA⁴$0 (fee may apply to bank transfers)3464.373,464,363 UGX
Wise$9.55Mid-market rate3,585,300 UGX

(08/08/2023 – Pay in method is ACH.)

So as you can see from this example, it’s the exchange rate that makes all the difference. NALA may charge no fee, but your money may go further with Wise because of its margin-free exchange rate.

Get a Wise Account today

How do I send money through NALA?

To use NALA, you’ll first need to download the app from the Google Play or App Store.

Then, follow these steps to set up your first transfer:

  1. Open the app and follow the on-screen steps to set up a new account
  2. Verify your identity when prompted
  3. Connect your account to a bank or debit card - this will be the payment method used to fund your transfers
  4. Tap the ‘Send’ icon in the app to start a transfer
  5. Follow the steps to choose a delivery method, the amount and destination you want to send to. You’ll also need to enter the recipient’s bank details if initiating a bank transfer.
  6. Review the details and confirm.

How do I withdraw money from NALA?

If you’ve received money through NALA, you’ll need to know how to withdraw it. Here’s what you need to do to withdraw funds from your NALA wallet to your connected and verified bank account:⁶

  1. Open the NALA app
  2. Tap the single currency wallet
  3. Tap the three dots in the top-right corner
  4. Select ‘Withdraw money’
  5. Choose the verified bank account you’d like the money to be transferred to
  6. Enter the amount you’d like to withdraw
  7. Tap ‘continue’ and then ‘Withdraw money’ to confirm.

Transfers should happen instantly.

Is the NALA app safe?

NALA has a number of security measures in place to protect you, your money and your data.

It uses what it describes as ‘bank-grade security’, including fraud detection, encryption and Strong Customer Authentication for new users.⁷

Bottom line

So, there you have it - a complete NALA money transfer review, covering everything you need to know.

It’s an easy-to-use, competitively priced option for sending money from the US to Africa.

Just remember that it may not be the cheapest option out there for every transfer. It’s always worth checking whether you could save money with another provider such as Wise.

Learn more about Wise

Frequently asked questions

How to send money to someone in Africa?

There are lots of ways to send money across to Africa, including using your bank - although this could be an expensive option. A digital solution such as Wise or NALA could be easier, faster and cheaper.

How long does a Small World money transfer take?

Comparing NALA to an alternative like Small World? Take a look here at our Small World review, to find out how long transfers take.

What is the best African app to send money?

NALA is a popular choice, as it’s easy to use, fast and competitively priced. Alternatively, why not give Wise a try? You may end up saving money - sign up for an account today!

Sources used for this article:

  1. NALA - Help - What is NALA?
  2. NALA - Help - How much does it cost to use NALA?
  3. NALA - Help - How does NALA make money?
  4. NAA - Home
  5. Wise - Send money
  6. NALA - Help - How to withdraw from the wallet to your verified bank account
  7. Google Play - NALA Send Money to Africa

Sources checked on 08-Aug-2023.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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