By now, Kenyans have become accustomed to the fact that they need to dig deeper into their pockets when sending money, especially within mobile money wallets or from banks to mobile money. This follows a go-ahead from the CBK at the start of 2023, which allowed lenders to reintroduce transaction fees for the same. The charges had been dropped by the CBK from April 2020 to cushion Kenyans from the harsh economic realities that were amplified by the pandemic.
These charges are significant for Kenyans because they constitute a considerable amount of money that goes into furnishing transactions. Banks previously allowed customers to avoid the charges. Now that the fees are back, people are looking for an option that does not cost them, specifically for groups that use the service on a daily basis, such as for business transactions or paying workers.
NCBA Loop was the obvious choice for some people, but the online bank rebranded its platform and introduced a ton of new features, including charges for bank-to-mobile money transactions (details can be read here). This effectively disqualifies it from customers who want to send money to mobile money wallets without incurring exorbitant fees.
A couple of weeks ago, I&M shocked everyone when it announced it had permanently dropped bank-to-mobile money charges. To date, we continue to hear stories about people who are opening accounts with the lender just for that service.
The other bank that offers free bank-to-mobile money wallet transfers is Bank of Baroda. Yes, that’s right, I just read about it too, but it is not new in Kenya. It is an Indian state-owned banking and financial services company with headquarters in Vadodara, Gujarat, India. It has a global presence in over 20 countries. The bank offers a wide range of banking services, including personal and corporate banking, investment banking, and wealth management services.
It is one of the largest public sector banks in India, with a significant presence in the international banking industry. Bank of Baroda provides a range of banking services to its customers, including personal banking, corporate banking, SME banking, and much more in Kenya.
We have spoken to a couple of people who bank with Baroda, and they have confirmed that bank-to-mobile money transactions do not attract any charges. However, we have been unable to access tariff guides on Baroda’s website. It has also been challenging to talk to the bank’s customer care agents.
It also has very few branches across the country.
Once we have additional information, we will update this post. In the meantime, you can check them out just in case you wanted another option other than I&M.