Banking and Insurance
M-Pesa or Airtel Money
M-Pesa (M is for mobile, pesa is Kiswahili for money) allows users to deposit, withdraw andtransfer money, as well as pay for goods and services, with a mobile device. Users are charged a small fee for sending and withdrawing money through the service. It’s very useful. You can pay for a taxi, buy food at the supermarket, pay for dinner at a restaurant, pay your electricity and water bills, recharge your phone credit, send money to others, etc. Register for it with your ID and some money to deposit at any Safaricom shop or Airtel Shop (in any mall) and you’re set.
Credit Card use
The use of credit cards to pay for purchases and services in major facilities is fairly common. However, certain services, like doctor offices, may not accept them. American Express is not always accepted.
Insurance Coverage Options
Protect yourself and your loved ones with third-party and comprehensive insurance products.
UN staff members can purchase personal insurance products in Kenya or abroad.
UNKLESA recommends two starting points for assessing your risks, insurance options and expectations when it comes to health, car, property, disability, mobile property and special risks:
Opening an Account
It is advisable to open a local account to pay for local services. All major banks in Kenya allow accounts in US Dollars, in addition to Kenyan Shillings. Banks charge between US$12-18 in monthly fees. There is also a fee to close down the account. There are many banks to choose from, including:
United Nations Federal Credit Union (UN Compound)
Kenya Commercial Bank (UN Compound)
Standard Chartered Bank (UN Compound)
Barclays Bank of Kenya
National Bank of Kenya
Commercial Bank of Africa
To open an account, banks will generally require:
Two passport photographs
Identification document, e.g. passport
Proof of residence, work permit or Diplomatic Identity Card
A new account takes about 7 days to be operational.
Banks may require additional documentation from citizens of certain countries.
Most banks have a reasonable network of branches and ATMs across the city. ATMs will generally accept international cards, particularly VISA cards. Cheques take 3-4 business days to clear. However, if you are paying out, your account is debited immediately and this normally shows by the next day.
United Nations Federal Credit Union
Eligibility, Benefits for UNKLESA Members
United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) membership is open to the UN community globally inclusive of family members of a UNFCU member and individuals who reside in and share financial responsibility of a household with a UNFCU member. Upon joining UNFCU, members become owners of the financial cooperative with voting rights and access to tailored financial solutions.
Since the opening of its representative office at the United Nations Office at Nairobi in 2003, UNFCU has offered financial guidance to thousands of members to help in achieving their goals. “UNFCU is dedicated to providing its global UN community with the peace of mind to do good,” said Maggy Kigochi, Africa Regional Manager. “We understand the challenges faced by highly mobile UN families and look forward to connecting with more members of UNKLESA.”
UNFCU not only provides safe and prudent financial solutions, it is also at the forefront of innovation. UNFCU recently became the first US credit union to offer transfer payments to Kenya M-Pesa accounts using Digital Banking. The credit union also expanded its award-winning Kenya mortgages to select areas of Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado, and Machakos. Kenya mortgages are offered in UN dollars at competitive rates to purchase a home or to refinance an existing mortgage. Additionally, a mortgage loan officer is available at the UNFCU Nairobi Representative Office, steps away from UNKLESA on the Gigiri campus, to provide guidance on navigating the home buying process.
Save the Date
In 2019, UNFCU will host a series of in-person briefings and workshops on financial education topics specifically designed for UNKLESA members. The first session on Managing Your Finances will take place on January 17th, 2019 (UN compound | Conference Room 8). Sign up at firstname.lastname@example.org
UNFCU offers a full suite of banking products and services designed for the mobile lifestyle of the global UN community. Headquartered in New York, UNFCU was founded in 1947 by 13 UN staff members. Today, UNFCU has more than 130,000 members worldwide with representative offices in Austria, Italy, Kenya, Switzerland, and Uganda. In 2015, UNFCU launched the UNFCU Foundation with a mission to sustain the path out of poverty through healthcare and education for women and children. A number of projects are improving lives in Africa.
UNFCU Nairobi Hours
The UNFCU Nairobi representative office is open Monday-Wednesday from 08:30 to 16:00; Thursday from 08:30-17:00; and Friday from 08:30-15:00. Members can also contact UNFCU remotely after local business hours, using several secure communications channels.