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Kay
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I've lived in Nairobi for sometime

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Africa > Kenya > Useful Info
Submitted on Aug 02, 2020 Useful Info

Best way for travellers to pay for things in Kenya

  • When shopping in Kenya cash is key. Literally, every place accepts cash ( In Kenyan shillings and a few places in US dollars). Always have small bills (Ksh 50, 100, 200, and 500) for minor expenses.
  • Foreign travelers can also pay using mobile money payment platforms such as M-Pesa. Mpesa is the most commonly used mobile money platform in Kenya. You'll need M-pesa for everything in Kenya: sending money, paying bills, buying goods, withdrawing cash, etc.
  • All you need to have is a Safaricom sim card and your passport. Registration is free at any Safaricom outlets. Once your sim card has been registered, you can easily activate your M-pesa.
  • Mpesa is convenient since you'll pretty much find it everywhere in Kenya including the most rural parts of Kenya.
  • How to add money to your M-pesa account: You can either withdraw money from your bank account to your M-pesa account or deposit money directly to your mpesa account at Mpesa agents. You must always have your passport for you to get any services at mpesa agents.
  • Other mobile money payment methods in Kenya include Airtel money, T-kash.

Credit card payments in Kenya.

  • Credit cards are accepted at most supermarkets, high-end restaurants and businesses, and gas stations but that's basically it. Outside Nairobi and Mombasa very few places will accept payment by credit card. You also won't find any ATMs outside towns.
  • Most commonly accepted credit cards in Kenya: Visa and Mastercard. American express is also available but accepted at very few places.

My suggestion.

  • Always have some little cash at hand and get an M-pesa account. Don't carry much cash around since pick pocketting is common in Kenya.