How To Open A Bank Account in Kenya


Weather you are visiting or living in the country, it is important that you know how to open a bank account in Kenya. Most banks have standard requirements that you need to meet in order for them to allow you to open an account with the bank. Through the account, you will be able to make various financial transactions and also manage your money well. In addition, through it, you will have access to loans or mortgage plans.

With all the required documentation, opening a bank account in Kenya will most definitely be easy for you since it is a process that will take a very short time for student and personal accounts. However, for the business accounts, it may take some hours or in some cases a few days.

See Also List of banks and their Addresses in Kenya

How can One Open A Bank Account in Kenya

central_bank_kenya -  open bank account in kenya

First of all, it is advisable that you do an extensive research to find out which bank has the best policies that will suit your financial needs. In addition, find out the rates of withdrawal and accessibility of the bank. For instance, there are banks which end their business day earlier than others and furthermore, some banks have more ATMs around the various towns in Kenya thus making them more accessible.

After you have decided which bank exactly to join, Go further and find out what types of accounts there are. Find out how they work then choose an account that will not only meet your needs but also serve the purpose for which it is intended to. For instance, if it is a savings account, ensure that it has certain restrictions that will prevent you from saving your money.

The required documents that you will need to present to staff responsible for account opening in the bank include;

  • An original and copy of your national identity card or passport and a formal confirmation of your current address.
  • A letter from an account holder in the given bank that serves the purpose of introducing you to the bank is also required. However, for those opening the business account, you will also need to present the certificate of your business registration and PIN certificate. This will help the Kenya revenue Authority to monitor your taxes and ensure that you pay tax.
  • On the other hand, for students who need to open a student’s account, in addition to your Original and copy of your passport or national Identity card you are required to present your student’s identification card of documents that prove that you are a legit student.

Although most banks have the account opening staff take a photograph of you on a digital camera, some banks may require you to bring with you passport size photographs that were taken recently. However, it is advisable that you visit the bank of your choice prior to the day you decide to open the account so that you may find out about any additional requirements they may have.

More often than not, you will be asked to return to the bank after some days for you to collect your ATM card. In addition, you are given an envelope that contains your pin number that you are meant to keep a secret. This will prevent you from being robbed or coned by thieves

Some banks in Kenya requires the customer to maintain a minimum account balance, if the account goes below the minimum levels it attracts charges for unremunerative accounts.

There are several types of bank accounts that can be opened in Kenya depending on your needs.

  • Current Account – This account is required for day to day transactions, it is suitable for students and salary earners for their salary accounts, the day to day transactions account, however no interest is paid to depositors. you have to be careful with this account as there can be hidden charges, our suggestion is that you enquire from your bank to find out all the charges that may apply here.
  • Savings Account – Deposits earn an interest and the number of withdrawals is restricted to less than 5 in a month. This type of account is good for funds you want to save for near future use.
  • Term Deposit – (Fixed Deposit Accounts) – This type of account can pay you significant interest rate when it gets to maturity. A number of banks in Kenya have structured their Term Deposit accounts in a period of 3,6,9 and 12 months period. If you are not ready to use your money for any of these periods, this option can be a better option for you.

Foreign currency accounts or domiciliary accounts can also be provided on request especially for major currencies  GBP, USD,EUR, JPY and CAD these are very important especially for business people and entrepreneurs involved in import and export trade, with these accounts you will not need to negotiate a rate for foreign currencies sent to your bank to be credited, this will save you money that could have resulted from currency fluctuations.