Banking, Money and Taxes in Kenya

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banking in KenyaBanking in Kenya is easy and efficient. Banks can be found in most major towns and cities. However, many local institutions don't offer the conveniences expats may be used to, such as credit cards, loans and overdraft allowances. Opening a bank account is usually a priority for expats relocating to Kenya. Although the process is fairly straightforward, expats will need a copy of their contract of employment and proof of a local address beforehand. 

Money in Kenya

The official currency in Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling (KES).

Notes: KES 10, KES 20 , KES 50, KES 100, KES 200, KES 500 and KES 1000
Coins: KES 1, KES 5, KES 20 and KES 40

Currency can be exchanged at most large banks or bureaux de change in Kenya.


Banking in Kenya

Many large banks in Europe or the US have branches in Nairobi, or have a partnership with a local bank. This can make transferring money between a home country and Kenya easier. The largest banks are Barclays Bank and Standard Chartered, which are British-owned, and Kenya Commercial Bank, Cooperative Bank of Kenya and Equity Bank, which are local.

Opening a bank account in Kenya

Opening an account at any of Kenya's banks is straightforward. An expat usually needs to be present at the bank and should bring original identification with them, such as a passport. They should also have proof of residency, such as their working visa or housing lease. One passport photo should be given along with a proof of Kenyan address. This can be a utility bill or similar statement that shows the expat's name and address.

Credit cards and ATMs

Expats will probably want to keep their bank account in a home country open for international purchases and emergencies. Expats can get credit cards from a Kenyan bank, but these are primarily used for business accounts and are more limited than in Europe or the USA. Debit cards are not widely used, and expats rely on cheques when they don't have cash on-hand. However, there are ATMs in the big cities and several banks have online banking.

Taxes in Kenya

With regards to taxes in Kenya, expats need to this issue with their employers. Expats should do their best to avoid being taxed in both their home country and Kenya. Kenya has double-taxation treaties with some countries, which prevent expats from being taxed on one income in both Kenya and in their home country.

Filing taxes is a complicated procedure even without these dual tax systems. Thus, expats should consult an expat tax advisor for help. Income tax returns need to be filed by expats working in Kenya by 30 June each year. Recent developments have meant that these returns can be submitted online.

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Our Kenya Expert

Marianne's picture
Melbourne, Australia. Nairobi, Kenya
I'm an Australian now living in Kenya. I spend my time travelling the country, volunteering, and helping those less... more

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