While releasing the survey, FSD noted that “Access to financial services has expanded rapidly over the past few years in Kenya but transparency hasn’t always followed. We still don’t know how affordable many financial services are.”
According to the FSD survey, most Kenyans know how high the cost of credit in Kenya is but the deposit side has received little attention.
FSD Kenya undertook a two-year study – with 11 banks and 22 accounts- to understand the cost of banking in Kenya. Our researchers, or “mystery shoppers,” visited bank branches posing as customers, making follow-up phone calls and website visits to confirm data.
In their findings, the funds required to open a bank account varied from KSh 155 to KSh 5,660 (averaging KSh 1,322), mostly because of some bank’s minimum opening balance requirements.
Closing a bank account ranges from KSh 495 to KSh 1,815, averaging KSh 1,002.
According to the report, it costs Sh535 to send Sh5,000 via RTGS, Sh318 through electronic funds transfer (EFT) while mobile to bank attracts an average fee of Sh58.
Withdrawal via agent is the least expensive in the country costing an average of Sh45 to withdraw Sh5000 via a bank agent while mobile withdrawal costs an average of Sh70. ATM withdrawal within the network costs an average fee of Sh29, using a card to withdraw outside the network costs Sh127, making the average ATM withdrawal fee in Kenya Sh78.
Over-the-counter withdrawals remain among the most expensive transactions, costing an average Sh177 to withdraw Sh5000.
The report concludes that “Unless it ( transparency in the Kenyan banking market) is addressed it is unlikely that the government’s policy objectives on competition and consumer protection will be met. Inevitably if the industry does not improve its performance then the pressure will grow for regulatory action.
About David Indeje
David Indeje is a writer and editor, with interests on how technology is changing journalism, government, Health, and Gender Development stories are his passion. Follow on Twitter @David_IndejeDavid can be reached on: (020) 528 0222 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org