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How to borrow airtime and data from MTN in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Kenya in 2024

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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In today’s interconnected world, access to airtime and data is crucial for staying connected, conducting business, and accessing information. However, there are times when we find ourselves in situations where we need to top up our airtime or data but lack the funds to do so immediately.

Also, running low on airtime or data in the midst of important tasks can be very frustrating. Fortunately, MTN offers solutions to address this issue through their airtime and data borrowing services. 

In this article, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to borrow airtime and data from MTN in four key countries: Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Kenya in 2024.

MTN is a leading telecommunications company operating in various countries across Africa and the Middle East. With a strong presence in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Kenya, MTN provides a wide range of services, including voice calls, messaging, internet connectivity, and mobile financial services.

Their service that allows you to borrow airtime is called MTN XtraTime while the one that loans you data is called MTN XtraByte. 

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What are the general terms associated with borrowing from MTN

Before explaining the specific ways to borrow services, it’s important to grasp the basic terms related to borrowing. These terms include:

  • Loan amount
  • service fee
  • Repayment period 

Loan Amount: 

This refers to the airtime or data amount you can borrow. The limits vary depending on your subscription plan and creditworthiness.

Service Fee: 

This is a small fee charged for borrowing, typically a percentage of the loan amount.

Repayment Period: 

This is the duration within which you must repay the borrowed amount and service fee. It ranges from hours to days, depending on the service chosen.

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How to borrow airtime with USSD from MTN in Nigeria

  • Dial *303# and select “XtraTime.”
  • Choose your preferred loan amount.
  • Confirm the transaction, including the service fee.
  • You’ll receive the airtime instantly.

When you borrow airtime from MTN, they’ll put the airtime you borrowed into your XtraTime account after they take out a service fee. For example, if you borrow ₦200, MTN will take ₦15, leaving you with ₦185 to use. When you top up your credit next time, MTN will automatically take back the #200 you borrowed. If you recharge with less airtime than what you borrowed, the whole recharge will go towards paying back your loan, and MTN will take the rest of the loan from your next recharge automatically.

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How to borrow data with USSD from MTN in Nigeria

  • Dial *303# and select “XtraByte.”
  • Choose your desired data plan.
  • Confirm the transaction, including the service fee.
  • The data will be credited to your account immediately.

The bundle fee and a service charge of 15% will be taken from your main account when you recharge next.

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How to borrow via 303 IVR in Nigeria

  • Dial 303 and select your preferred language: English, Igbo, Hausa, or Yoruba.
  • Choose between XtraTime or XtraByte.
  • If you select XtraTime, the system will display available airtime amounts.
  • Pick your desired amount from the list.
  • Confirm the transaction after hearing the total amount and service fee.
  • After confirmation, the system deducts the service fee, adds airtime to your XtraTime account, and sends a successful transaction message.

Note that a 15% service fee applies to every borrowed amount.

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How much can be borrowed from MTN in Nigeria?

There’s a limit to how much you can borrow from MTN. In Nigeria, MTN has the most customers in Africa. The minimum you can borrow from MTN Nigeria is ₦25. To borrow more, you have to show you’re good at paying back what you owe. You do this by using the XtraTime service often. The more you borrow and pay back, the more airtime MTN will let you borrow next time. Also, the more airtime you add to your phone in a month, the more you can borrow when you need it. So, if you only add about ₦400 of airtime each month, don’t expect MTN to let you borrow ₦1000 or more when you need it.

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How to borrow airtime with USSD from MTN in Ghana

Below are the steps on how to borrow airtime with USSD from MTN in Ghana:

  • Dial *506# and select “XtraTime.”
  • Choose your preferred loan amount.
  • Confirm the transaction, including the service fee.
  • You’ll receive the airtime instantly.

Also note that in Ghana, you can borrow GHp50 or more from MTN depending on how much airtime you top up monthly. You must have less than GH¢4 to take an XtraTime loan in Ghana. MTN will credit your XtraTime account with the airtime balance after deducting the service fee of 10%. So if you borrow GH¢4, GHp40 will be deducted, and only 3.6GH¢ worth of airtime will be available to you.

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How to borrow data with USSD from MTN in Ghana

Below are the steps on how to borrow data with USSD from MTN in Ghana:

  • Dial *506# and select “Data Advance.”
  • Choose your desired data plan.
  • Confirm the transaction, including the service fee.
  • The data will be credited to your account immediately.

You can borrow at least 15 megabytes of data, which lasts for a day, and at most 1 gigabyte, which also lasts for a day.

When you dial *506#, you’ll get loan choices based on your total credit limit.

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How to borrow airtime with USSD from MTN in South Africa

Below are the steps on how to borrow airtime with USSD from MTN in South Africa:

  • Dial *136*2# or *151# and select “Airtime Advance.”
  • Choose your preferred loan amount.
  • Confirm the transaction, including the service fee.
  • You’ll receive the airtime instantly.

In South Africa, you have the option to borrow up to R50 worth of airtime from MTN. After you make the transaction, MTN will add the airtime amount to your XtraTime account, but they’ll take out a service fee of 10% before crediting it.

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How to borrow data with USSD from MTN in South Africa

Below are the steps on how to borrow data with USSD from MTN in South Africa:

  • Dial *136*2# or *151# and select “Data Advance.”
  • Choose your desired data plan.
  • Confirm the transaction, including the service fee.
  • The data will be credited to your account immediately

In South Africa, you have the option to change MTN XtraTime airtime into data. Simply dial *136*6# and then follow the instructions. After completing the process, MTN will add data to your account. The airtime amount will be taken out when you recharge next time.

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How to borrow airtime with USSD from MTN in Kenya

The following are the steps to follow to borrow airtime with USSD from MTN in Kenya:

  • Dial *131# and select “Mkopo wa Muda.”
  • Choose your preferred loan amount.
  • Confirm the transaction, including the service fee.
  • You’ll receive the airtime instantly.

How to borrow data with USSD from MTN in Kenya

The following are the steps to follow to borrow data with USSD from MTN in Kenya:

  • Dial *131# and select “Data Mipaka.”
  • Choose your desired data plan.
  • Confirm the transaction, including the service fee.
  • The data will be credited to your account immediately

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How to borrow airtime or data using the MTN app

MTN offers an app called MyMTN, which you can get from either the Google Play store or the Apple store. This app lets you do lots of things with your MTN services, like managing your subscriptions and tariff plans and buying, sending, or borrowing airtime and data bundles.

To borrow airtime using the MyMTN app, just follow these simple steps:

  • Open the app.
  • Look for the menu at the bottom of the screen and tap on “Recharge”.
  • A menu with different options will pop up. Tap on “Borrow”.
  • You’ll see a list of loan options for airtime, like XtraByte and XtraTime. Choose the one that suits you.
  • Confirm your loan when prompted by tapping on “Proceed”.

Below are direct links to different MTN apps on playstore for Android users:

What makes you eligible to borrow from MTN?

To be able to borrow from MTN, you need to meet certain requirements. Firstly, if you’re new to MTN, have a bad history with paying back loans, or still owe money from previous loans, you might not qualify. Also, you can only borrow airtime if you meet certain conditions.

To qualify for the XtraTime service, you must:

  • Be a prepaid customer, which means you pay for services before you use them.
  • Have a registered phone number, which is done when you buy an MTN SIM card.
  • Have been using MTN for more than 3 months.
  • Have spent at least ₦200 every month for the past 3 months.
  • Have between ₦0 and ₦75 in your account.
  • Pay off any previous XtraTime loans before borrowing again. 

If you still owe money but haven’t reached the maximum borrowing limit, you can borrow the remaining amount. For instance, if you can borrow up to ₦400 but have only borrowed ₦100, you can still borrow up to ₦300 more. The MTN XtraTime service will always let you know how much you can borrow.

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Is there any service fee associated with borrowing?

Certainly! When you borrow airtime or data, there’s usually a fee you’ll have to pay on top of what you borrow. Here’s how it typically works in different countries:

In Nigeria:

If you borrow airtime, expect to pay about 10% extra. For data, the fee can be anywhere from 5% to 15%, depending on the plan you pick.

In Ghana: 

Borrowing airtime comes with a fixed 10% fee. Data fees can vary, but they usually fall between 5% and 15%.

In South Africa:

Borrowing airtime means paying a 12% fee. Data fees range from 5% to 12% depending on the plan.

In Kenya:

Borrowing airtime has a 10% fee, while data fees can be between 5% and 15%.

But remember, these are just rough estimates. The actual fee might be different for your specific transaction. 

Here’s how to find out exactly what you’ll be charged:

  • Check the official MTN websites for each country and borrowing option.
  • Use the MTN mobile app and look for the “Borrow Airtime” or “Borrow Data” sections.
  • Dial the borrowing USSD code on your phone and follow the prompts for fee information.
  • Contact MTN customer service—they can give you the exact fee for your transaction.

Always make sure to double-check the fee before you go ahead with the borrowing to avoid any surprises on your bill.

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What is the Repayment Service like?

MTN’s repayment service for borrowing airtime and data varies slightly across different countries. You can repay automatically by having the borrowed amount and service fee deducted from your main account upon your next top-up or recharge.

 Alternatively, you can manually repay the loan and service fee through various methods depending on your country, such as using USSD codes, the MTN mobile app, online portals, or MTN service centers.

The repayment period varies depending on the amount borrowed and the service chosen, typically ranging from a few hours to several days. If you fail to repay within the specified period, you will incur late fees in addition to the outstanding balance. Late fees vary by country and service but can be significant.

You can check your outstanding loan balance and repayment details through the MTN mobile app or by dialing relevant USSD codes. Timely repayment is crucial to maintaining good creditworthiness and avoiding service restrictions. It’s important to borrow responsibly and prioritize repayment to ensure a smooth experience with MTN’s borrowing services.

For specific details regarding your country, visit the MTN website or mobile app. These platforms often provide the most up-to-date information on repayment methods, periods, and fees specific to your country and subscription plan.

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What other Alternatives are Open Aside from Borrowing?

Instead of borrowing airtime or data, think about other options available to you. You could try asking friends, family, or using mobile money apps to add credit to your account before you decide to borrow.

If you want to use MTN’s borrowing service, make sure to read and understand the rules mentioned here. By following the steps carefully, you can use MTN’s borrowing service to stay connected when you need to. Always remember to borrow wisely and pay back on time to avoid any problems.

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FAQS

How do I borrow airtime or data from MTN in Nigeria?

Just dial *303# and pick “XtraTime” for airtime or “XtraByte” for data. Follow the steps, and you’re good to go.

How do I borrow airtime or data with USSD in Ghana?

Easy-peasy! Dial *506#, choose “XtraTime” or “Data Advance,” and confirm.

How do I borrow airtime or data with USSD in South Africa?

Dial *136*2# or *151#, select “Airtime Advance” or “Data Advance, and follow the steps.

How do I borrow airtime or data with USSD in Kenya?

Dial *131#, pick “Mkopo wa Muda” for airtime or “Data Mipaka” for data, and You’re all set

Is there a service fee associated with borrowing?

Yes, there’s a service fee for borrowing airtime or data, typically ranging from 5% to 15%, depending on the country and service chosen. For example, in Ghana, borrowing airtime incurs a fixed 10% fee.

How do I repay the borrowed amount?

You can repay automatically by having the borrowed amount and service fee deducted from your main account upon your next recharge. Alternatively, you can manually repay through USSD codes, the MTN mobile app, online portals, or MTN service centers.

What are the general terms associated with borrowing from MTN?

The terms include the loan amount, service fee, and repayment period. The loan amount varies based on your subscription plan and creditworthiness, while the service fee is typically a percentage of the borrowed amount. The repayment period ranges from hours to days.

How much can I borrow from MTN in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Kenya?

The borrowing limits vary by country and depend on factors like usage history and monthly top-ups. In Nigeria, for instance, the minimum borrowing amount is ₦25, while in Ghana, it starts at GH¢50.

What makes me eligible to borrow from MTN?

To qualify for borrowing, you must be a prepaid customer with a registered phone number, using MTN for more than three months, and meeting certain usage thresholds, like spending at least ₦200 every month in Nigeria.

What other alternatives are available aside from borrowing?

Instead of borrowing, consider asking friends, family, or using mobile money apps to add credit to your account. 

Conclusion

Borrowing airtime and data from MTN provides a convenient solution for subscribers who find themselves in need of immediate connectivity but lack sufficient funds. 

By following the simple steps outlined in this guide, subscribers in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Kenya can easily borrow airtime and data from MTN in 2024.

However, it’s essential for subscribers to be aware of the repayment terms and any associated charges to avoid any inconvenience or penalties. With MTN’s borrowing services, staying connected has never been easier.

References

  • mtn.ng – Xtratime
  • rebtel.com – Send airtime to Ghana
  • airvantage.co.za – Airtime Borrowing in Sub-Saharan Africa: Simplifying Connectivity
  • techcabal.com – How to borrow airtime and data from MTN in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Uganda

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Blessing Ukibe
Blessing Ukibe

Medical Student at Nnamdi Azikiwe University|Tech content expert at Silicon Africa Technology|Lover of fun books and fun fun ☺️

Articles: 90

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