Formerly a colony of the British Empire, today the African nation of Kenya enjoys a close relationship with the United Kingdom. There are more than 25,000 British citizens residing in Kenya and there are hundreds and thousands of Kenyan-born UK residents. As one of Africa’s top 10 economies, it’s easy to send money to Kenya from the UK. Banks, foreign exchange companies and international payment providers all let you send money to Kenya. Make sure you shop around to get the best quote on your international money transfer.
Banks versus money transfer companies
You can send money from your UK bank account to a Kenyan bank account. While this is convenient, it may not be the most cost effective option. We have a look at a bank versus a money transfer company to see which type of provider can offer a better deal.
|Bank – Bank of Scotland||Money transfer company – MoneyGram|
|Exchange rate||N/A||1 GBP = 140.374579 KES|
|Amount received for £1,000 (in Kenyan Shillings)||N/A||140,374.58 KES|
|Transfer time||4 – 12 working days||10 minutes|
|Transfer options||Bank account deposit||Cash collection & bank account deposit|
Rates correct 23/01/16 – 10.00AM
How do I compare transfer companies when transferring and receiving money?
Look at these features when you’re comparing quotes to send money to Kenya.
- The exchange rate. The rate you get to convert Pounds Sterling to Kenyan Shillings. Sometimes the exchange rate can include a transfer fee margin. Some providers let you lock in an exchange rate up to two years in advance for future payments.
- Transfer fee. This is the fee for sending money to Kenya. Some providers don’t charge a transfer fee or offer first transfer free deals.
- Collection options. Does the provider offer bank account deposits, cash collection or both.
- Transfer time. How quickly are the funds ready to collect. Bank account deposits take longer to process than cash collection international payments.
- Payment options. How can you pay for your transfer. Some providers are cash only others let you pay from your bank account.
- Minimum and maximum transfer amount. How much do you want to send? Providers such as PayPal are suited for making smaller payments whereas TorFX can help you buy a house.
- One off or recurring payments. Do you need to make regular payments to Kenya. A select number of providers offer recurring international payments.
- Agents. For payments to be collected as cash from an agent, how many locations in Kenya does the provider have.
- Customer service. Can you contact a UK based customer service team if you need assistance with your transfer.
- Tracking. Does the provider let you track the status of your payment to Kenya.
How do I send money to Kenya from the UK?
Kenya is a major African economy. Your bank will let you exchange Pounds Sterling to Kenyan Shillings and send the money to a Kenyan account. And there are a number of international payments providers that allow overseas payments to Kenya. Consider the following providers if you want to send money to Kenya.
- Your bank or financial institution. You can send money right from your bank account, you’ll need the recipient’s bank account details and identification codes for the Kenyan bank. Transfers usually take about 1 week.
- International payment provider. For example, MoneyGram or Western Union. These services can get cash to Kenya quickly.
- Foreign exchange providers. Speciality foreign exchange providers such TorFX or UKForex can offer decent rates, however, this type of company may also offer fewer ways to pay and collect compared to international payment providers. Popular providers which allow you to send money to Kenya include:
How do I receive money from Kenya in the UK?
A SWIFT international bank to bank transfer or cash transfer from a foreign exchange provider such as Western Union are two options to receive money in the UK.
- Bank to bank transfers. For bank account transfers, you’ll need to provide the IBAN and BIC as well as your bank’s SWIFT code. A small fee may be charged by your bank and you may also incur a currency conversion fee if the funds need to be converted to Pounds Sterling when the money is deposited into your account.
- International payment providers. If you’re collecting cash from an international payments provider like Western Union, you’ll need to provide identification as well as a unique reference code which is provided to the sender. Overseas payment providers can also deposit cash directly to your bank account.
Emergency cash transfers to Kenya
No one likes to be stuck without cash — especially in a foreign country. Options for sending emergency cash to Kenya include:
- International cash payment. An international payments service such as Western Union or MoneyGram can send money to Kenya in under 10 minutes. You can pay with your credit or debit card and select cash as the collection option. The recipient must show identification and quote a one time reference code to pick up the cash.
- Emergency cash assistance. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are three card schemes that can make the funds on your account available as emergency cash if you lose your card.
- Travel insurance. Some travel insurance policies offer an emergency cash benefit in certain situations.
Cash pickup locations in Kenya / Western Union / MoneyGram branches in Kenya
- ABC Bank Eldoret
Xul Arcade Oginga Ondinga Road, Eldoret.Open Monday to Friday 8.00AM to 7.00PM, Saturday 9.30AM to 1.00PM.+053 020 2031152
- Aristocrats Forex Bureau Limit
1st Floor, Kenindia House Loita Street, NairobiOpen Monday to Friday 8.00AM to 7.00PM, Saturday 9.30AM to 1.00PM+057 020 2023692
- ABC Bank Mombasa
Shariff Nasser Investment Buil Moi Avenue, MombasaOpen Monday to Friday 9.00AM to 4.00PM+254 041 2220428
- MOI Airport
94637 Moi International Airport Mombasa, Coast 80115Monday to Saturday 8.30AM to 6.30PM, Sunday 8.00AM to 1.00PM+254 412 220140
- National Bank of Kenya – Maua Branch
Maua-Isiolo Road, Maua, 559-60600Open Monday to Sunday 8.00AM to 6.30PM.+254 202077390
- Consolidated Bank – Maua Branch
Maua Street P.O. Box 142, Maua, 60600Open Monday to Friday 8.30AM to 5.00PM, Saturday 8.30AM – 12.00PM
- Kenya Post Office – Isiolo branch
Mashalla House, IsioloMonday to Friday 8.30AM to 4.00PM, Saturday 8.30AM to 1.00PM+254 06452402
- K-REP Bank
Isiolo, Isiolo 60300Open Monday to Friday 8.00AM to 4.00PM, Saturday 8.00AM to 12.00PM.+254 734312895
Tips for picking up cash in Kenya
Travel advice for UK nationals visiting Kenya warns of bag snatching attacks in transport hubs such as bus stations, railway stations and airports. It’s also advised to stay clear of areas of areas such as a the slum areas of Nairobi, Mombasa Old Town and the Likoni Ferry.
- Make sure your possessions are secure so you don’t present an easy target for pickpockets,
- Avoid wearing flashy jewelry
- Beware thieves posing as police officers or security guards. Always ask to see identification if you’re approached by somebody claiming to work for the authorities.
What are the steps to send money to Kenya?
Logon to your internet banking facility to send money to Kenya using your bank’s international payment feature. If you would like to use the services of an international payment provider, you will need to create a free account before you can accept a quote and complete a transfer. To create an account, you’ll need to provide the following information:
- Contact details
- Your date of birth
- Your address
- Identification. Some providers require a photocopy of your passport and a utility bill to complete the registration process.
Once you’ve created an account, you can request a full quote. Note that preliminary quotes may only quote indicative rates. After you’ve paid for your transfer, you should get a receipt displaying a tracking number which you can use to check on the status of your international money transfer to Kenya.