Which Kenyan bank has the best transaction accounts?

I’m looking for a new transactional bank account for the year. Generally need to low cost, quick, pleasant service, forex, standing orders, cheque book, ATM network, probably an introduction credit card etc?

My top choices are Equity, Stanchart or Barclays. Indicate appropriate tariffs and put your comments/reasons below.


28 thoughts on “Which Kenyan bank has the best transaction accounts?

  1. pink m

    For personal transactions, I’d go with the Stanchart all in one tarrif. For 750 bob you get unlimited cheques, standing orders, one bankers and foreign transfer etc

    Business, BBK is ok if you’ll need financing at some point, but their execution sucks. For quick, personalized service at reasonable rates, I’d go with NIC and CFC Banks. Though not sure if CFC will change with the merger.

  2. Anonymous

    Definately Standard Chartered is my bank. they have class, quality, efficient and personalised customer service. they are simply the best.


  3. adam23

    Here is my experience from the perceptive of a Kenyan living in the USA:

    For Kenyans in Diaspora…Stanbic..They have like ksh 50 per month service fee for checking account, customer service is excellent although. They respond to email asap..and very courtesy. You can even direct wire transfers and check writing from here.

    Equity…Good but not good for Kenyans in diaspora, because they require to make constant deposits within a certain time frame, otherwise they freeze you from withdrawing.

    Barclays…Nope..their rates are too high.

    Family bank…they don’t cater for Kenyans living outside.( at least not yet as of Nov 2008)

  4. coldtusker

    Banks is a Kenyan who lives in Kenya…

    I am partial to I&M Bank… I like the ‘holistic’ approach…

    For Banks:
    – it is close to his workplace…
    – Get their ‘free’ savings account (min 10,000/-) with a chqbook (minimal charge) & ATM card.
    – Offer other services incl discounted medical insurance with AAR (Serenity Card).
    – Pleasant (professional) staff
    – Credit card… it’s easy just ASK them to waive or discount the 1st year’s fee & they might do it…

    I looked into Stanchart and not bad esp the X-account. The best part? The long(er) hours at Nakumatt Ukay (9-9 M-F & 9-5 S-S) lakini parking is a pain during peak hours.

    CFC Stanbic – Not my cup of tea anymore!

  5. Mocha!

    Interesting post Banks!

    Perhaps and eye opener for Kenyans abroad who are thinking of opening an account in Kenya.

    Will be back to view final verdict.

  6. Anonymous


    CBK used to publish the info you’re looking for (name and shame campaign),,,

    Does it still exist? check out their website.

  7. Concept

    Try BBK with their bouquet product. There is one with a monthly charge of k’sh 590 which entitles you to a free cheque book, one standing order per month, no charges for ATM withdrawals,cheque deposits and clearing.
    Other banks have all manner of charges behind every transaction…

  8. Rafiki

    Also note that fees at many of those banks are negotiable (just like anything else in Kenya). I have already saved a lot of money just asking for a better (zero) rate.

  9. Anonymous

    Banks, I thought you are a banker? As an insider, wouldn’t you get the ultimate discounts in kila kitu?

    Ama this is some market research of sorts?

    Ama wewe ni wannabe?

  10. P's KIT

    Hey Banks,

    Like Coldtusker said, I&M bank, anytime with a mix of Equity. Reason,

    For I&M,
    a. no transaction fee with balance of 10k… but if you go below, monthly fee is 500. I guess the 10k should be the emergency cash.
    b. Free cheque book and still earn interest on running average balance. And there are no charges when u bank those 80 bob dividend cheques.
    c. Can use the Visa debit card to shop around as well as pay online for those Ebay/amazon bargains or pay for ACCA/CFA exams or project bids when doing outsourcing. The monthly charge is 250 only.
    d. You can access you account statement free via email from whatever day at no cost and free sms balance enquiries. To top it, the CS is good, they call to confirm your paymenst of 100k plus.

    Extras; less busy banks halls, can access your funds anywhere as long as there is Kenswitch linked bank (over 100 locations in addition to Pesa Points 100 plus ATMs)

    cons: Heavy charges for recieving international transfers.

    For Equity,
    -Free account with cheque book, ATM.
    -Can pay another equity accounts via mobile (24/7 service) or online… at a fee. More functionalities with mobile banking enabled.
    -Free to recieve international transfers thus can do e-commerce with available online payment services like Paypal.
    -easy access to loans and financing esp. in tenders.

  11. mushenzi

    @coldtusker. Been at I&M too for a number of years but their customer service is fading slowly. At times they promise to deliver something at a certain time but delay for weeks. Things have changed. Maybe customers have become too many?

  12. Anonymous

    Stanchart any time… esp the 750 bob account and the X account..

    no hassles so far, u get almost everything a working kenyan would need, i.e. unlimited standing orders, cheque book, debit card, one bankers cheque every month, one EFT every month, no ATM withdrawals, salary processing, statements via email, telephone banking, and nowadays banking hours are 9-4. soon i guess they will be 8.30-4.30..

    I wonder why there is no internet banking???
    If u travel outside the country – be careful when using the debit card.. it can messu up

  13. msichana

    As another Kenyan in the Diaspora:
    I get free statements on a monthly basis; and can make immediate transfers bila complications. They send you on-the-spot confirmation once transcation complete as well.

  14. bankelele

    Pesa tu: MOVE is 800/= per month (NIC)

    Pink m: are you a Diva? ;-] (Stanchart)

    Odegle: thanks (Stanchart)

    Ogutu: thanks (Stanchart)

    Ka-investor: thanks (Stanchart)

    Adam23: are you sure it’s Stanbic with the 50/+ tariff? Never had of that one, or good customer service to go with that! (Stanbic)

    Coldtusker: I knew your answer; you’re a strong advocate for those guys (I&M)

    Mocha: you’re excused because it’s cold!

    Concept: Thanks, I’m leaning towards BBK (Barclays)

    Rafiki: Not very negotiable I think, and often some banks may promise, but fail to charge you the ‘amended’ rate. You’re vote for who?

    Anon: wannabe

    P’s KIT: I&M it is, seems to be a perfect account for a busy executive/businessman

    Mushenzi: thanks for clarifying

    Anon: Stanchart

    MainaT: But sooner or later you have to go to the banking hall…and the queues are killer (Equity)

    Msichana: thanks for clarifying. Equity seems to be popular with Diasporans (Equity)

    Tally so far: Stanchart (5) Equity (2) I&M (2) Barclays (1), NIC (1) Stanbic (1): thanks for voting, the comments are invaluable

  15. pink m

    Yes, I’m a diva :). Have been for about one and a half years, and not a single complaint from Stanchart. Their service is exceptional and better still, VISA withdrawals are free, so basically you use any other bank’s ATM at no charge.
    What beats unlimited standing orders?

    The banking halls have become a tad crowded of late, but again, you don’t really need to queue because one can do virtually anything over the phone (cheque books) and ATM, including deposits.

    Ok, I’m done with advertising.

  16. Rafiki

    Banks, my vote is for CBA, but again, it is because of a very special negotiated deal: no minimum balances, no monthly fees, free cheque books, free debit cards, free internet banking, … virtually no costs (only for credit cards and some withdrawals by card).

  17. Anonymous

    very interesting we have like 50 banks i would expect to see co-op,kcbs
    wapi m-pesa please add it
    anyways nice poll

  18. JabaBoeku

    Resident: SCB all-in-one tariff! Gives u almost all u’d need @750 flat fee. ATM network is OK. Customer service cud do better! I hear X-account is also looking up!

    Non-Resident: Equity current accounts (USD/GBP/EURO & KES). Allows easy transfer from one (self) acct to another. Annual internet banking fee 2400/=. Wire transfer charges @600 flat irresp. of amount wired in. Transfer charges to other equity accounts @50/= per transfer makes it very attractive!

    Response to email inquiries is fast & efficient. Banking halls queues( need to set up before you depart) is the biggest headache!

    Happy Banking!

  19. JabaBoeku

    @Banks: NIC Bank recently (in 2008)launched their internet banking service. There is a demo at their website & its seems feature packed.
    Compared to equity’s product, its much faster & allows payments to service providers.

    Anyone with specific details (internet bank charges, wire-costs, inter-account transfer costs)

  20. Keguro

    No to Equity.

    Yes to Stanchart.

    I tried to open an account with Equity. I found them harried and disorganized, with terrible client relations, unless you deal directly with the manager. I found the manager to be pleasant and clueless. I rate them inefficient and ineffective.

    Stanchart were delightful. Professional, with their ducks lined up properly. Were I to open a Kenyan account, it would definitely be with them.

  21. 23Adam


    I stand corrected, I meant Stanbic 500 ksh.

    Cold – The blog also caters for non-resident, and as far as am concerned this blog caters to both, so there you go. Don’t hate.

    Customer service, maybe it is because they know me as one of their account holders…but I agree both Stanbic and EQuity do take forever to reply their emails, 2 weeks on average, so one has to follow with a phone call but Equity will keep you hold forever. and yes, I like that they (Equity) have no monthly fee and bank statements are free to and you get to receive them online, unlike Stanbic where they have to mail it to meinternational…waste of funds.

  22. Anonymous

    CBA sucks! Their so-called package targetting people abroad is a big fat con! You’ll be lucky if they respond to emails if you’re having a problem! What a con! Sadly with few internet banking options, they still manage to lure us in!
    Stanchart on the other hand even without internet banking, is efficient. You can make arrangements to do transactions via email and I hear soon they’ll have internet banking…i’m dumping CBA so fast then!

  23. Jonas

    I am looking for a new Bank account in Kenya as well … but my only interest is the possibility to access my account (view transactions etc payments not necessary) over the internet since I live in the bush.

    Any ideas on this? I am currently on a min 50,000KES account on Barclays (free ATM, free Cheques I think – never used them …)

  24. Anonymous

    Who knows a bank in Kenya whose visa debit card can be verified by paypal, I currently have Equity visa debit card which paypal cannot register, nobody to help me even the Equity staff are clueless. I need to shop online.

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