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:

  1. Global insurance products offered through UNFCU Financial Services at (Clements Worldwide)

  2. Kenya insurance products offered through M.A Khan Insurance Brokers Ltd at

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

  • CFC Bank

  • NIC Bank

  • Commercial Bank of Africa

  • Cooperative Bank

  • Equity Bank

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.


Bank Transactions

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.