How to Open A Kenyan Bank Account


There are numerous players in the banking industry in Kenya and there are various types of bank accounts that one can open in Kenya. These banks offer different types of bank accounts that focus on different types of clients. Before opening a bank account in Kenya, it is recommended that you visit a number of banks and talk to the staff there. What is most important is that you should focus on what you really need from a bank and those are the services you should look out for as you make a decision on which of the Kenyan banks you should work with.

Different Types of Bank Accounts in Kenya and their Features

Current Account

Various types of accounts fall under this category they include: day-to-day accounts, student accounts and salary accounts. They offer immediate access to funds through a variety of channels including cheque books and over the counter transactions. They also offer an ATM and/or debit card. In addition they may or may not offer interest and generally charge fees for transactions. The existence of these accounts is aimed at providing a day-to-day account for both retail and corporate markets offering a means to conveniently undertake transactions.


Transaction Accounts

They are similar in most respects to a current account but are more focused on a market segment for which a cheque book is not required or appropriate. It is especially suited to the lower-income market owing to its simplicity. Generally fees are charged for transactions.

Savings Accounts

They allow for the accumulation of funds. The law does not allow for charges/fees to be charged on this type of account. The bank pays you interest as long as the minimum balance is maintained. They generally have restrictions on access. These types of accounts are used by banks to collect money from their clientele; the sums are then lent to those who need loans. The customers then earn interest on their saving. Only a few banks give cheque books for savings accounts, albeit majority give ATM cards to their customers.

Fixed deposit accounts

The amounts deposited in this type of account are fixed for a specified period of time. Different amounts and with corresponding different time periods can earn different rates of interest. The more time the sums are held, and the more the amounts are held the more the customer earns interest.

How to Open a Bank Account in Kenya

It is advised that you select a large bank with a very good branch network. The Kenya Commercial Bank, Equity Bank and Cooperative Bank are good examples. This should be a personal decision based on what you want.

It is further advised that you contact the bank of your choice. Choose a bank that is conveniently located, essentially it should be one that you can visit in person.

When you visit the bank you are essentially given an account application form. It is required that you fill it. More importantly carry the required documents which must be all originals. The documents are verified, copied and given back to you. The documents include your Identity Card which could also be your driver’s Licence if you have one or your international passport, and a coloured passport sized photo (most of the account opening officials will photograph you within their premises)

After the documents have been verified the bank usually sends you your account details via email or even mobile text messages usually after one to two weeks depending on the bank.

It has also been observed that you can fill an account opening form online. This is usually useful for Kenyans in Diaspora. You can read further guide on how to open a Kenyan bank account.

Kenyan Bank Account Services

Mobile Banking

Mobile banking has also been embraced by various banks. They have created a platform through which services by the banks can be accessed through a mobile phone. These facilities are aimed at enabling customer’s access information relating to their accounts.

Internet Banking

Most Kenyan Banks now have internet banking platforms. This helps to decongest the banking halls as quite a lot of transactions can be made online through the internet banking platform. You would usually request for your account to be profiled for internet banking and you would be given the adequate form to complete before you gain access to your online bank account.

Opening a bank account in Kenya is regarded as a noble idea because of the following reasons. It offers an avenue where you can transact your financial activities. It also helps develop a saving culture in addition to acting as a platform through which you can receive salary remittances as well as giving a sense of transparency in your business transactions.

Opening a Kenyan bank account is no longer a complicated process. It has merely evolved to be a walk in and out affair. The requirements of opening an account are varied as the number of banks themselves. However there are apparent similarities. The account opening process takes a few minutes for personal and student accounts and a few hours or even days for corporate accounts. With the numerous types of bank accounts on offer customers are spoilt for choice.

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