Quickly borrow airtime or data from MTN in 3 steps

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You can borrow airtime and data from MTN when you run out.  You can use the borrowed airtime to make calls or purchase data bundles if you would rather not borrow data directly. Buying data bundles with airtime loans might be more cost-efficient than taking a data bundle loan. Each data loan is attached to an airtime value. You might be able to get the bundle you are about to borrow at a lesser price if you borrow airtime and use it to buy data the regular way.

When you borrow airtime, the amount you were loaned will be deducted automatically upon your next recharge. If it is a data bundle you borrowed, the corresponding airtime value will be deducted when you recharge. The service that allows you to borrow airtime is called MTN XtraTime while the one that loans you data is called MTN XtraByte. MTN has 16 markets across Africa, but this article will give step-by-step instructions on how to borrow airtime and data from the 4 countries with the most MTN subscribers— Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, and Uganda.

How much can you borrow from MTN?

There is a limit to how much one can borrow from MTN. Nigeria has the largest MTN subscriber base in Africa, and the least amount one can borrow from MTN Nigeria is ₦25. To borrow more, you’ll need to build credit. You do this by using the XtraTime service as often as possible. The more you borrow and repay, the more airtime MTN will allow you to loan the next time. The more airtime you credit your phone within a month, the more airtime you can borrow when you need it. So if you only credit your phone with an average of ₦200 a month, don’t expect MTN to allow you to loan ₦500 or more when you need it. 

Eligibility requirement for borrowing airtime from MTN

You can only borrow airtime if you qualify for it. To be eligible for the XtraTime service, you must:

  1. Be a prepaid customer. MTN plans are in 2 major categories—postpaid and prepaid plans. The postpaid plan allows users to use any MTN service and pay the total bill at the end of the month. A prepaid plan allows users to buy the amount of data and airtime they think they need and use it at any time, with an extended expiring date. Most people use the prepaid plan because it allows them to manage their money by using MTN services according to their purchasing power.
  1. Have a registered phone number. Registration is usually done at the point of purchase of the MTN line. The SIM card is registered with the biodata of the owner of the SIM. 
  1. Have been on the MTN network for more than 3 months. If your SIM is new, do not bother trying to loan from MTN. If this rule wasn’t in place, millions of users would borrow and dump SIMs more than they already do now. 
  1. Have spent at least ₦200 monthly for 3 months. In addition to being on the network for 3 months prior to your attempt to loan airtime from MTN, you need to have borrowed at least ₦200 each month. Think of this service as a loyalty programme. The more you patronise MTN by buying airtime, the more access you get to their loans.
  1. Have between ₦0 and ₦75 in your main account. This is important to note. If you are trying to get additional airtime so you can buy ₦100 worth of data or more, this MTN XtraTime loan will not be available to you. You will only qualify to loan airtime from MTN if you have less than ₦75 in your account.
  1. Pay up any outstanding XtraTime loan. If you are already owing MTN airtime you might not be able to borrow until you pay your debt.  However, if your previous loan is not up to the maximum loan MTN allows you to borrow, you can request a loan of what is left of your borrowing limit.  For example, if MTN will enable you to borrow a maximum of ₦200 and you have already borrowed ₦50, MTN will allow you to borrow an additional ₦150 even if you have not paid your previous debt. The MTN XtraTime prompt will always indicate how much you are eligible to borrow.
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How to borrow airtime from MTN

You can loan airtime from MTN using the app or prompts from a USSD code. The app is not supported on feature phones, but the USSD code runs on both feature and app-supporting phones. 

How to borrow airtime from MTN using USSD

MTN USSD codes vary in all its 16 African markets. This article will only describe how to use the USSD code to loan airtime for the 4 African countries with the most MTN subscribers—Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, and Uganda. If you are an MTN user in any of the other countries unaddressed in this article, you can find links to the official MTN support page for your country here.

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How to borrow airtime from MTN using USSD in Nigeria

 To borrow airtime using the USSD code in Nigeria, follow these steps:

  1. Dial *606# and select XtraTime
  2. A list of amounts you can borrow will be shown to you. Select your preferred amount.
  3. The network will then send you a prompt that shows you the loan you requested and the 15% service fee that will be deducted from the airtime. The prompt will ask you to confirm the transaction. Confirm the transaction.

Upon your transaction, MTN will credit your XtraTime account with the airtime balance after deducting the service fee on every amount you loan. This means that if you loan ₦100, MTN takes ₦15 naira and only allows you to use ₦85 naira of the airtime you borrowed. The next time you top up credit, the ₦100 you borrowed will be automatically paid back to MTN. If you recharge with airtime less than what you borrowed, the entire recharge will go towards your loan repayment and MTN will automatically deduct the remaining loan upon your next recharge.  

How to borrow data from MTN using USSD in Nigeria

The USSD code for borrowing data from MTN is the same as that for borrowing data—*606#. The steps are as follows:

  1. Dial *606# and select XtraByte.
  2. You can then select your preferred data plan from the list of data bundles displayed.
  3. After selecting your preferred data plan, the system will send you a message reiterating your chosen amount, plus the applicable service fee, for you to confirm the transaction.

The bundle fee and a service charge (15%) will be debited from your main account on your next recharge.

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How to borrow airtime from MTN with USSD in South Africa

In South Africa, you can loan up to R50 airtime from MTN. The USSD code for borrowing from MTN in South Africa is *136*2#. To loan airtime from MTN:

  1. Dial *136*2# and select XtraTime.
  2. A list of amounts you can borrow will be shown to you. Select your preferred amount.
  3. The network will then send you a prompt that shows you the loan you requested and the service fee that will be deducted from the airtime. The prompt will ask you to confirm the transaction. 

Upon your transaction, MTN will credit your XtraTime account with the airtime balance after deducting the service fee of 10%.

How to borrow data from MTN with USSD in South Africa

In South Africa, you can convert MTN XtraTime airtime into data. To do this, dial *136*6# and follow the prompts.

Upon your transaction, MTN will credit your data account. The airtime value will be deducted upon your next recharge.

How to borrow airtime from MTN with USSD in Ghana

In Ghana, you can loan 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. The USSD code for borrowing from MTN in Ghana is *506#. To loan airtime from MTN in Ghana:

  1. Dial *506# and select XtraTime.
  2. A list of amounts you can borrow will be shown to you. Select your preferred amount.
  3. The prompt will ask you to confirm the transaction. Confirm the transaction.

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.

How to borrow data from MTN with USSD in Ghana

A minimum of 15 MB is valid for 24 hours and a maximum of 1GB is valid for 24 hours.

Upon dialling *506#, an eligible customer will be provided with loan options based on the user’s total credit limit.  To borrow data from MTN in Ghana follow these steps:

  1. Dial *506#. 
  2. Select Request a data advance.
  3. The network will show you a list of available bundles. Select the one you want and confirm the transaction.

How to borrow airtime from MTN with USSD in Uganda  

MTN subscribers in Uganda can borrow a minimum of UGX250 and a maximum of UGX10,000. To borrow airtime from MTN in Uganda using the USSD code, follow these steps:

  1. Dial *146# and select XtraTime.
  2. Select your preferred amount from the list of amounts shown to you.
  3. The network will then send you a prompt asking you to confirm the airtime you are about to borrow. Confirm the transaction.

Upon your confirmation, MTN will credit your XtraTime account with the airtime balance after deducting the service fee. In Uganda, the XtraTime Service Fee is 10% of the amount borrowed. So if you borrow UGX1,000, UGX100 will be deducted by MTN as a service charge and UGX 900 will be the usable airtime value.

How to borrow data from MTN with USSD in Uganda  

In Uganda, a minimum of 15 MB is valid for 24 hours, and a maximum of 1GB is valid for 24 hours. To borrow data:

  1. Dial  *146#
  2. You will be provided with loan options based on your credit limit.
  3. Choose a suitable loan option. 

How to borrow airtime or data using the MTN app

MTN has an app—MyMTN—that you can download from the Google Play store or the Apple store. It allows you to access a variety of MTN services: managing subscriptions and tariff plans, purchasing, transferring, and borrowing airtime, and data bundles. 

To borrow airtime from MTN using the app follow these steps:

  1. Launch the app.
  2. Browse the menu bar at the bottom of the app launch screen and tap Recharge.
  3. A gridded menu will appear. Tap borrow.
  4. You will see a list of XtraByte and XtraTime loan options. Tap the XtraTime option that you think is suitable. 
  5. There will be a prompt to confirm your loan. Tap proceed.

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