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Send money to Kenya

Send money to Kenya using an international money transfer service and you could beat the bank's rates.

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Fact checked

Do you want to send money to friends or family in Kenya? You can do it, but your choices are limited due to the exotic status of the Kenyan currency.

Many mainstream banking institutions don’t allow transfers between Irish and Kenyan bank accounts, so you will need to look at money transfer companies like Western Union or MoneyGram. These let you send money to Kenya in minutes.

Name Product Minimum Transfer Transfer Time Transfer Fee
TransferWise - Ireland
EUR 1
1-2 days
Varies
Azimo - Ireland
GBP 10
Instant
Varies
WorldRemit - Ireland
EUR 1
Same day
Varies
Remitly - Ireland
EUR 0
1-5 days
EUR 2.99
XE Money Transfers - Ireland
EUR 1
Same day
EUR 0
Skrill - Ireland
EUR 50
1 day
None
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Compare up to 4 providers

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Banks vs money transfer companies

If you want to send money to Kenya, double check with your banking institution first. Some banks don’t offer electronic fund transfers to Kenyan bank accounts. This was a problem for Abasi. He wanted to send money regularly to his family in Nairobi. He found a money transfer service that allows transfers to Kenya and compared the deal offered to another money transfer company.

Money Transfer Service 1Money Transfer Service 2
Exchange rateEUR€1 = KES113.23EUR€1 = KES112.76
Transfer feeEUR€22EUR€40 (cash pickup)
Amount of KES for EUR€1000KES113,230.00KES112,760.00
Transfer time3-5 business daysTen minutes
Transfer optionsBank-to-bank transferBank-to-bank transfer, mobile payments, cash pickup
Difference of+KES470

Abasi sees that he can save €18 in transfer fees and send an extra 470 Kenyan shillings by using the first money transfer provider.

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How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to Kenya

If you want to send money to Kenya, make sure you have a look at the following information when you get your quote on the funds transfer.

  • The exchange rate. This is the amount of Kenyan shillings you get in exchange for each euro you send to Kenya. You can check the rate when you get your quote on the funds transfer.
  • Transfer fees. Each provider will charge a fee for your money transfer to Kenya. Fees vary depending on how you want to send the funds. For example, cash transfers are priced differently compared to mobile payments. Like the exchange rate, you’re advised of any fees when you get the quote for the transfer.
  • Collection methods. Different companies offer different options for receiving the funds. 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. How can you send the funds? Most transfers are handled online but you can still send cash in person by visiting an outlet. Western Union has the largest network of businesses that act as agents and representatives of Western Union and its services.
  • Transfer options. Do you need to make a regular payment, or do you only need to make a one-off funds transfer?
  • Minimum transfer amounts. How much do you need to send? While the upper limit is generally of no concern to most people, if you’re looking to carry out a small transaction, you should compare money transfer companies based on the minimum transaction allowed. Some companies have no minimum transfer amount, but they charge a fee if you’re sending under a certain amount.
  • Customer service. Is speaking to someone to help you through the process something that’s important to you? Some companies pride themselves on their achievements with customer service and their willingness to go the extra mile for their customers. Consider this when comparing money transfer companies.
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How to send money to Kenya from Ireland

The choice of banks that let you send money to Kenya is limited. Check with your financial institution to see whether they offer money transfers to a Kenyan bank account.

  • WorldRemit. WorldRemit is a speciality money transfer company. Like Western Union and MoneyGram, there are fees when you send money to Kenya, but the first transfer is usualy free with WorldRemit. It has good reviews for its 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 from bank to bank, cash pickup transfers and mobile money transfers.
  • Western Union. You can send money to a bank account, pay someone using their mobile phone number or you can arrange for a cash pickup. There’s a fee for this service, but unlike bank-to-bank transfers, the money can be ready in minutes.
  • MoneyGram. MoneyGram operates in a similar fashion to Western Union. The main point of difference with these two companies in Kenya is that Western Union has a larger number of cash collection points.
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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 let you send money to Kenya almost instantly. There are a couple of options if you need emergency access to cash:

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’re unable to access the funds in your account. Give your bank and the card company a call, and they’ll let you know about 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 company’s website. It’s safe, easy and quick.

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Cash pickup locations in Kenya

There are over a thousand different Western Union cash collection outlets where you can send money to 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 from. For example, a foreign exchange bureau may be the only place that has enough money to honour your transaction.

The numbers for the merchants 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 you will be able to get the cash when you come in. They may also be able to advise you if there are any security protocols that need to be observed.

WorldRemit

  • All Time Capital, Mombasa Branch.

    City Grosser Building,

    1st Floor, Opposite Blueroom Restaurant,

    Haile Selassie Road,

    off Digo Road, Nairobi.

    +254-020-8000171/2,254-722-575050

    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.

    +254-020-8000171/2,254-722-575050

    Open Monday to Friday 9am-4:30pm.

    Saturday 9am to 12:30pm.

Western Union

  • ABC, Westland Branch.

    ABC House, Westlands,

    Nairobi.

    +057-020-2023692

    Monday to Friday 8am-7pm.

    Saturday 9:30am-1 pm.

    Sunday – Closed.

  • Amana Forex Bureau.

    Amana Shopping Centre, Nairobi.

    +254-020-225617

    Open Monday to Thursday 8:30am-6pm.

    Friday – 8:30am to 9:30pm.

    Saturday and Sunday – 8:30am to 6pm.

MoneyGram

  • National Bank of Kenya.

    Ongata Rongi Kiserian Road,

    Nairobi.

    +254202528359

    Open Monday to Friday 8am-4:30pm.

    Saturday 8am-2pm.

    Sunday – Closed.

  • Kenya Post Office, Makueni Branch.

    Koli Building, Makeni,

    Nairobi.

    +25404433371

    Open Monday to Friday 8:30am-4pm.

    Saturday 8:30am-1pm.

    Sunday – Closed.

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Tips for collecting cash in Kenya

Irish citizens travelling to Kenya need to pay close attention to their personal security. Westerners have been victims of kidnappings and robbery in Kenya, especially in the capital, Nairobi.

Travellers visiting Kenya should exercise a high degree of caution. Irish citizens who plan to visit the Nairobi and Mombasa region, including Diani Beach, Lamu County and parts of Tana River County, should reconsider their need to travel.

If you’re going to collect a large amount of cash, and you’re concerned for your safety, it’s a good idea to give the business where you’re collecting your cash a call first to discuss whether security precautions are necessary. A registered taxi to and from the cash collection point is advisable as well as travelling in a group.

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How to send money to Kenya

The process for sending money to Kenya is a little different depending on the method you use.

  • Bank transfers

    If you want to send the money to a bank account in Kenya from your bank account in Ireland, you’ll need the recipient’s bank account details and details of their banking institution, such as the SWIFT code or IBN. International fund transfers from your bank account are done through your online banking facility.

  • Cash collection

    If you want to send cash for the person to collect, you just need to provide their full name. They will need the Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN), which is provided to you once the transaction is confirmed.

  • To a mobile phone

    Money transfer companies like Western Union also let you send money to a person’s mobile phone in Kenya. The recipient must have an activated Safaricom M-PESA Mobile Wallet. You need their Safaricom mobile phone number and the receiver’s 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 will need to provide the following details about yourself:

  • Full name.
  • Email address.
  • Residential address.
  • ID, such as a driver’s licence

If you want to send money to friends, family or anyone else in Kenya, a specialist money transfer company like WorldRemit, Western Union or MoneyGram gives you a few different ways to complete the transfer. Compare these companies based on their exchange rate and the fees for the transfer. If you have any questions about how to send money to Kenya, get in touch with us using the form below.

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