I was one of a lot of Nigerians who were happy to see Netflix offer services across many countries including Nigeria. So, like many others I signed up quickly and saw a few series same day night to my satisfaction. I have not gone back to it since then. When you sign up to Netflix you get charged nothing for the first month, however they inform you that your debit card will be charged every month subsequently. It is a well know model used by most subscription based services. To sign up you put in your online payment details and then enjoy the service for free for a period. Afterwards they debit your account without you needing to authorize.
What you however don’t expect to see is to have the bank charge your $9.99 fee using an exchange rate of N301!!!! Didn’t they say the official exchange rate was around N199? This of course is not a surprise as most commercial banks are fond of charging parallel market rates when you use your debit cards for online transactions abroad or locally (if the purchase is a foreign good or service). It’s quite upsetting to think that you will be paying at an exchange rate N300 for something they officially claim is N199.
This probably proves that the Naira is already on a free float or what I may call a select float. It is trading at market prices for most Nigerians while some “preferred” businesses get it at official (pegged) rates. The government says it is trying to discourage indiscriminate use of the dollar to purchase “frivolous” goods and services and will prioritize that over sectors that need it to create jobs hence the disparity in the exchange rate. Is it fair? I really don’t know but I don’t like being cheated. I will probably not mind of everyone (including those who get dollars for N200) pay at a market based exchange rate for Netflix or indeed any other online transaction. That way I know we are all taking a fair share of our love for foreign goods and services.