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Tips for banking in Nairobi

July 24, 2019
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Tips for banking in Nairobi

One of the key drivers of Nairobi’s economy is the banking sector which comprises of local as well as international banks. The Banking Act, The Companies Act along with Central Bank of Kenya Act are the primary regulators of the banking industry in Nairobi. Not to mention, at the moment there is an estimate of forty-seven banks in Kenya to deliver the banking needs and majority of these financial institutions have their headquarters in Nairobi. The banks are usually opened five days a week from 8 am to 4 pm and on Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm. Also, to minimize the queues inside the banking halls, the financial organizations have provided their clients with 24-hour ATM service along with a variety of online services. Financial institutions in the Capital of Kenya are categorized into three tiers namely: tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3. Tier 1 is made up of Diamond Trust Bank, Barclays Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank, Standard Chartered Bank along with Equity Bank. Tier 2 bank consists of NIC Bank, Bank of Baroda, Family Bank, CFC Stanbic Bank, National Bank, Bank of India and Eco Bank. Tier 3 financial institutions comprise of Guardian Bank, Sidian Bank, Transnational Bank, Consolidated Bank, Victoria Commercial Bank, Gulf Africa Bank among others.

Exchanging Currency

The Kenyan shilling is the (KSHS or KES) is the nation’s official currency where one shilling is made up of 100 cents. The country has currency notes of the denominations 1000, 500, 200 and 100. Not to mention, a tourist can exchange their foreign currency for the local currency at the Mombasa or Nairobi airport via the foreign exchange bureaus. Moreover, a foreigner can also make an exchange at the lodge, camp or hotel where they are staying but the airport bureaus usually offer better rates. Furthermore, at the airport, some banks normally work for longer hours than their branches located in the cities. However, the main hotels in Mombasa, as well as Nairobi, accept credit cards which charge high bank fee.

Opening a Bank Account

Both the locals as well as the foreigners can open bank accounts in Nairobi. Firstly, the local people need to have an original and a copy identity card, passport size photo, a formal confirmation of the current address, and a certificate of business registration or a PIN certificate. Secondly, a foreigner in Nairobi can also open a bank account with these requirements; passport, application form, passport size photo, proof of home address, KRA pin to show that one is registered to pay tax.

Banking Fees

In Nairobi, a person is likely to face these three banking fees; international transfers, ATM and normal bank fees. Fees for international transfers in case one is living in Nairobi as an expatriate and might need to transfer funds from abroad to a local account or vice-versa. ATM fees vary according to bank and account and most do not charge a monthly maintenance fee. The normal bank fees which emanate from the numerous choices of account types in Nairobi banks which one should select depending on the intended use of the account once it is active. The financial institutions offer different products; thus, one must decide the specific bank as well as a particular account through reading the small print about account fees.

Transferring Money to a Kenyan Bank

A foreigner may decide to move finances to an account in the Kenyan bank. The tourist requires a SWIFT code for the local bank. Not to mention, to transfer funds from a foreign bank account to a local one, money can be foreign or in Kenyan shillings. The requirements are account number, SWIFT code, account number; bank and branch.

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