Learn how to send money to friends and family living in Kenya.
Due to the exotic status of the Kenyan currency, there are very limited options when sending money overseas to Kenya. Many Canadian banks do not allow transfers to Kenyan bank accounts. Using money transfer companies like WorldRemit, Western Union or MoneyGram may offer you more options. These companies let you send money to Kenya in just minutes, often with more competitive exchange rates and lower fees than many banks.
Comparison of services which allow you to send money overseas to Kenya
Some Canadian banks don’t offer electronic fund transfers to Kenyan bank accounts, so check with your financial institution first. The table below shows alternative services you can use to send money overseas to Kenya. Sort through products using the table headings. To read more about a product, click “More info”, or click “Go to site” if you would like to register and open an account.
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Banks vs money transfer companies
Abasi wanted to send money regularly to his family in Nairobi. He found a Canadian bank that allows transfers to Kenya and compared that bank’s service with a popular money transfer company. After comparing the two, Abasi discovered that his family would save 6,694.92 Kenyan Shillings plus $15 in fees if he sent the money via bank transfer, for pick up using the money service provider.
|Bank||Money Transfer Service|
|Exchange rate||$1 CAD = 73.10 KES||$1 CAD = 80.59 KES|
|Transfer fee||CAD25||CAD10 (Bank transfer)|
CAD25 (Cash pickup)
|Amount received for CAD1000 (in Kenyan Shillings)||73,100.00 KES||79,794.92 KES|
|Transfer time||3-5 business days||Minutes|
|Transfer options||Bank to bank transfer||Bank to bank transfer or cash pickup|
|Difference of||+ 6,694.92 KES received|
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to Kenya
If you want to send money to Kenya, consider the following factors once you get your quote for the money transfer:
- The exchange rate. The exchange rate is an important comparison between international money transfer providers and refers to how many Kenyan Shillings you will get for every Canadian dollar. Ask for a quote before you compare exchange rates, so you can be sure you are comparing the right rates and not the advertised ones only.
- Transfer fees. Providers will charge a fee for your money transfer to Kenya. Fees vary depending on the method you choose to use to transfer the funds and how much you send. For example, cash transfers are priced differently from mobile payments. Some companies will charge no fees if you send a large amount of money at one time, which is generally for amounts around $10,000 and higher.
- Collection methods. Companies will offer different options for receiving the funds, including cash pickups and direct deposit into a bank account. Some companies like Western Union offer bank transfers, cash collection and mobile payments, while other institutions will only allow a bank-to-bank transfer.
- Transfer methods. Most transfers are handled online these days, however you can still send cash in person by visiting a branch. Western Union have the largest network of businesses who act as agents and representatives of their services, meaning you can get cash in most countries around the world.
- Transfer options. Every company will offer different transfer options including regular payments and one time transfers, among other options.
- Minimum transfer amounts. Some money transfer companies have minimum amounts that you are allowed to send, while others have no minimum. If you send under a certain amount of money, fees tend to be higher.
- Customer service. Ensure that you can contact customer service online, by phone, or via web chat and make sure the hours suit your schedule. Many companies offer 24/7 support, while others may not be available to help you all of the time. Some companies pride themselves on their achievements with customer service and their willingness to go the extra mile for their customers.
How to send money to Kenya from Canada
The choice of banks that let you send money to Kenya from Canada is limited. Check with your financial institution to see whether it offers money transfers to a Kenyan bank account. You can also consider these options:
- WorldRemit. WorldRemit is a specialty money transfer company. Much like Western Union and Moneygram, WorldRemit charges fees when you send money to Kenya, however the first transfer is free. There are good reviews for customer service and there’s an easy-to-use smartphone application, which makes sending money to Kenya a breeze. With WorldRemit, you can send money directly to a bank account for cash pickup or even send mobile money transfers.
- Western Union. You can send money directly to a bank account for cash pickup, or even pay someone using a mobile phone number with Western Union. There is a fee for this service, but unlike bank-to-bank transfers, the money can be ready in minutes.
- MoneyGram. MoneyGram operates in a fashion similar to Western Union. The main difference with these two companies in Kenya is that Western Union has a larger number of cash collection points. In Canada, MoneyGram and Canada Post have a partnership, making it a useful option.
Emergency cash transfers to Kenya
In the event of an emergency, it’s possible to get cash to Kenya in a matter of minutes. Companies like WorldRemit and Western Union allow you to send money to Kenya almost instantly. Here are a couple of options if you need emergency access to cash in Kenya:
- An emergency cash advance. Visa, Mastercard and American Express will give you an emergency cash advance if your cards are lost or stolen and you are unable to access the funds in your account. Give your bank and the card issuers a call and you can find out whether there’s a merchant close to your location where you can collect the funds.
- Money transfer service with cash pickup. International money transfer services like Western Union, MoneyGram and WorldRemit let you transfer to merchants, cash collection agencies and banks in a matter of minutes. You can send the money to Kenya from the particular company’s website and it’s safe, easy and quick.
Cash pickup locations in Kenya
There are over a thousand different Western Union cash collection outlets where you can pick up money in Kenya.
Be aware that the size of the transfer, differences in time zones and other transaction specific conditions will determine where the cash can be collected. For example, a foreign exchange bureau may be the only place that has enough money to honour your transaction if you send a large amount.
Phone numbers for the companies and branches where cash can be collected are listed on the MoneyGram and Western Union websites. It may be a good idea to give the business a call before you go in to make sure your funds are available.
All Time Capital, Mombasa Branch.
City Grosser Building,
1st Floor, Opposite Blueroom Restaurant,
Haile Selassie Road,
off Digo Road, Nairobi.
Open Monday to Friday 8am – 4:30pm.
Saturday 9.30am – 12:30pm.
Sunday – Closed.
All Time Capital, Nairobi Branch.
Cellcare Electronics Ltd,
St Ellis Building, Ground Floor,
Mama Ngina Street.
Open Monday to Friday 9am – 4:30pm.
Saturday – 9am to 12:30pm.
ABC, Westland Branch.
ABC House, Westlands,
Monday to Friday 8am – 7pm.
Saturday 9.30am – 1 pm.
Sunday – Closed.
Amana Forex Bureau.
Amana Shopping Centre, Nairobi.
Open Monday to Thursday 8.30am – 6pm.
Friday – 8.30am to 9.30pm.
Saturday and Sunday – 8.30am to 6pm.
National Bank of Kenya.
Ongata Rongi Kiserian Road,
Open Monday to Friday 8am – 4.30pm.
Saturday 8am – 2pm.
Sunday – Closed.
Kenya Post Office, Makueni Branch.
Koli Building, Makeni,
Open Monday to Friday 8.30am – 4pm.
Saturday 8.30am – 1pm.
Sunday – Closed.
Tips for collecting cash in Kenya
Canadians travelling to Kenya need to pay attention to their personal security. Westerners have been victims of kidnapping and robbery in Kenya, especially in the capital city of Nairobi.
The Canadian Government advises that you should exercise a high degree of caution when visiting Kenya. Those who plan to visit the Nairobi and Mombasa regions, including Diani Beach, Lamu County and parts of Tana River County should reconsider their need to travel to these areas, or be highly cautious if it’s unavoidable.
If you’re going to collect a large amount of cash and are concerned for your safety, it’s a good idea to give the transfer agency a call first to discuss whether security precautions are necessary. Take a registered taxi to and from the cash collection point and travel with a friend so that you’re not alone. Have your hotel help you and immediately put the cash into a safety deposit box.
Methods of sending money to Kenya
The process for transferring money to Kenya will vary depending on the method you use.
If you want to send the money to a bank account in Kenya from your bank account in Canada, you’ll need the recipient’s bank account details as well as their bank’s routing information, as transit, branch and account number.
If you want to send cash for your recipient to collect, you’ll need to provide their full name and possibly other details like their phone number and address. Once you send the transaction, you’ll need to provide them with the Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN), which they will need to show to receive the money.
To a mobile phone.
Money transfer companies like Western Union also let you send money to your recipient’s mobile phone in Kenya. The recipient must have an activated Safaricom M-PESA Mobile Wallet. You will need their Safaricom mobile phone number and their full name to complete a transfer this way.
Before you can send money to Kenya using a service like WorldRemit, you will need to create an account. You’ll be required to provide the following details about yourself:
- Full name.
- Email address.
- Residential address.
- You may also be asked to verify your identity by inputting your driver’s licence.
If you want to send money to friends, family or business partners in Kenya, a specialist money transfer company gives you a few different ways to send your funds overseas. Compare these companies based on their exchange rates, fees and options offered for transferring funds. If you have any questions about how to send money to Kenya, get in touch with us using the form below.