Best Banks in Kenya for Small Businesses

Finding the best bank in Kenya for your business is critical. Your bank is the centre of all your finance: from accounting to tax compliance, to payroll and general efficiency. 

Selecting a bank that works as a partner gives you the freedom to focus on the important issues of your business. Pick the wrong bank, however, and you’ll spend half your time solving unnecessary problems. 

Banks in this country are very different. Some hold on to traditions while others are constantly evolving. But the one thing they have in common is that at some point, problems will arise. So as I searched for the best bank for our business, I centred my assessment on customer service, automated self-service, and regional availability. The three areas are crucial to problem-solving.

So which banks should you consider for your business?

In a rush? Here are the 2 best banks in Kenya for small businesses.

  1. ABSA – Multi-currency prepaid card
  2. I&M Bank – Business accounts options are better than most.

Criteria For This List

  • Ease of doing business – How is their customer service, their online and mobile platform and how much can you do without visiting a branch?
  • Attractive business accounts – What fees do they waive, what do you get for the cost and why would you prefer this account over other banks’?
  • Low fees
  • Implications of income from regional countries – will expanding out of Kenya have overwhelming costs or be seamless?
  • Implications and easy integrations with online payment platforms, such as PayPal, Flutterwave, and others. 
  • Integrations with accounting software, like Xero and Freshbooks.
  • Good internet banking in case you employ a remote accountant.
  • Multi-currency accounts like USD, Euro, GBP.
  • Anything else related to business banking. 


ABSA bank is everywhere in Africa. That will prove cost-effective when transacting outside of Kenya. They have good customer service and are constantly innovating from their Barclays bank roots. 

ABSA have business advisors who call when something looks off on your account, the way credit card companies do in the West. Not every bank does this.

However, their speed of innovation might cause slowdowns during upgrades and clashing code issues (I have experienced this with their Timiza app).

Regionally available: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia.

ABSA One Business Account


  • Cheque book
  • Absa business Debit card with daily ATM withdrawal limit of Kes 100,000
  • Monthly cashback on all Debit card usage
  • Secure digital banking with fingerprint/biometric access 
  • Multi-currency Prepaid card
  • Lipa na MPESA Buy Goods and PayBill facilities with fast settlement 
  • International money transfer services

Business overdraft facility


  • Absa tariff guide.
  • Zero monthly fees – you only pay for the transactions done
  • Account to M-Pesa – Ksh 75
  • M-Pesa to account – Ksh 30
  • Outward RTGS – Ksh 500
  • Withdrawal at other bank ATMs – Ksh 230
  • Pesalink – Ksh 150


  • Certificate of incorporation or certificate of compliance if not locally incorporated
  • Memorandum and articles of association/CR8, CR12
  • Company PIN certificate
  • National identification card (for Kenyan citizens)/Passport (for foreigners) for all directors (plus ultimate beneficiary owners if the company is owned by other companies) and signatories/known agents
  • 1 passport size photo each for all the signatories and directors/known agents
  • Board resolution specifying the signing powers on the company letterhead sealed with the company seal
  • Signed Absa account opening pack (sealed)
  • Residential address confirmation (name estate, road and house number) for all directors and signatories (use the attached format)
  • Company physical address confirmation (can be found in the new PIN certificates)
  • Annual returns (for companies registered over one year ago)
  • Revenue stamp – KES100

Editorial note: Ultimately, this is the bank I would recommend for a Business Account.

I&M Bank

I&M Bank used to be a good, steady bank with a lot of flexibility and a semi-elitist impression. This is because not many people bother with them. 

You should. Their business accounts are the most solid on this list and I imagine there’s a way to work with the bank to tailor system integration.

My problem with I&M Bank is the rebrand. A bank wouldn’t bother with a youthful facelift if they weren’t facing some kind of problem. Especially if there has been no merger or acquisition. The last bank to do that was National Bank in 2013 and they collapsed and were absorbed by KCB in 2020.

The rebrand tells me they are trying to venture into new markets and that may not be a good sign. 

I would recommend a visit, but be cautious.

Regionally available: Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda.

Alpha Business Account


  • Opening and minimum balance – Ksh 2,000
  • 100 free transactions per month. Additional charged at Ksh 15
  • Monthly fee – Ksh 1,000
  • Cheque book per leaf – Ksh 12


Account opening requirements depend on the type of registered business you’re running.


  • Dedicated relationship managers
  • I-Click internet banking and I&M Mobile transactions not charged ledger fees
  • Free daily e-mailed transaction advice
  • Free monthly statements or free email statements at intervals of your choice
  • International Visa debit card, free for the first year (sole signatory accounts only)
  • Attractive reward points on Debit Card POS/Online transactions

Savannah Business Account


  • No minimum balance
  • Opening balance Ksh 1,000
  • Monthly fee of Ksh 500
  • ATM Card at Ksh 500
  • Flat Fee waived if account average monthly balance is above Ksh 500,000


Account opening requirements depend on the type of registered business you’re running.


  • Free Daily Transaction Notifications
  • International Visa debit card, free for the first year (sole signatory accounts only)
  • Cheque Book Available
  • Dedicated Relationship Managers
  • Access to 24/7 Call Centre and I-Click Internet Banking Services
  • Attractive reward points on Debit Card POS/Online transactions
  • 30 free monthly transactions. Additional transactions charged at 20/- per entry
  • Flat Fee waived if account average monthly balance is 500,000/- and above


KCB are the biggest bank in the region in my opinion. There’s a KCB in almost every town you go to in Kenya, and every major town in Eastern Africa. 

Any issues that may need a visit to a regional bank or ATM (for example password reset), you will probably be a few minutes away from an outlet anywhere in the region.

They are also early adopters of new technologies. I can’t speak on system integration but you can be certain that any innovation that breaks into the market will probably start at KCB. 

However, being as huge as they are, their banking halls are always busy, everywhere. Calling takes a long time to get through and sometimes the call can drop after being on hold for minutes.

They try to remedy this by having an active and mostly responsive social media customer service team. Their website’s online assistant is also efficient when available. 

KCB also has a problem with system crashes. 

These can be awful and can go on for extended periods especially after they perform updates (the last one that affected me lasted a week). What’s worse, they won’t tell you when the system is down, even if you ask them directly. The risk here, which I have personally suffered, is that transactions can get lost and you could lose money. It’s recoverable, but it takes a lot of time to do so.

Regionally available: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Sudan

SME Current Account


  • Access to unsecured loans of up to 3 million.
  • Overdraft and credit facilities

Free monthly statements


All charges are before tax.

  • Zero opening and operating balance
  • Monthly charge – Ksh 300
  • Over the counter withdrawal charge – Ksh 200
  • ATM withdrawal – Ksh 30
  • Local currency Bankers Cheques – Ksh 200


  • Certificate of Registration/Incorporation
  • KRA PIN Certificate
  • VAT Certificate
  • Valid Trading License
  • Company’s Partnership Deed (where applicable)
  • Board Resolution (where applicable)

Corporate Current Account


  • Loans and overdraft facilities
  • Access to various financing facilities

Access to various other personnel services


  • Most fees are dependant on the type and needs of your company
  • Ledger fees – Ksh 35
  • Online banking – Ksh 100
  • Outward RTGS – Ksh 500
  • Outward SWIFT – Ksh 2000


  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • KRA PIN certificate
  • Board resolution or company’s minutes resolving to open an account
  • List of authorized Persons/Signatories with specified signing mandates
  • County Treasury and National Treasury approval for County & State Corporations
  • Memorandum & Articles of Association
  • Audited financial statements
  • Identification details including:
    • National ID/Passport/Alien Certificate for foreign nationals
    • KRA PIN Certificate

Editorial note: KCB is a reliable bank most times but during the infrequent moments that its systems are down, they’re really down.

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered are a good bank and their banking systems are the most solid in the country. However, they are the oldest bank in Kenya and are a bit set in their ways: 

  • They are slow to take up new technologies.
  • You have limited transaction capabilities over the weekend.
  • From my experience, they do not adjust their methods for even some of their billionaire clients, and that’s simply exporting a statement in Excel instead of PDF.

However, for the same reason:

  • Their customer service is great.
  • They have the least reported issues with security.
  • Their online platform is up-to-date.

Regional availability: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Mauritius, South Africa, The Gambia, Zimbabwe, Zambia.

All in one Current Account (Personal)


  • Minimum opening balance – Ksh 2,000
  • Monthly fee – Ksh 1,000
  • All other common charges – free other than pesalink
  • All statements are free (monthly to daily)


  • Mandatory supporting documents for Kenyan citizens and Non-Kenyan residents:
  • Original / copy of National ID or valid passport
  • SC Mobile: Selfie / Portrait In-Branch: One passport size photograph
  • If US Person, upload W-8 BEN / W-9 BEN form.
  • If US Green Card holder, upload W-9 BEN.


  • ATM Debit card allows withdrawals anywhere in the world.
  • Free eStatements can be sent daily, weekly or monthly

Editorial note: Their personal account looks great. But their business account is unnecessarily and out-datedly expensive to open.

Business Current Account

This account does not earn any interest on the balance.


  • Automated payroll services at discounted tariffs
  • Comprehensive international payment solutions
  • Discount on transactional charges based on monthly turnover
  • Access to a dedicated relationship manager and business contact centre.
  • A streamlined collection process for your business.


  • Undisclosed for business current account.


  • Initial deposit – Ksh 100,000.
  • Business Account Opening Form.
  • Company Memorandum of Articles of Association (M&A).
  • Financial statements for the most recent 12 months (if the business is older than 1 year in existence).
  • Certificate of Incorporation / Registration.

Diamond Trust Bank

Diamond Trust Bank is a member of the Aga Khan group. 

They are a very stable bank but don’t really care about innovation that much. My interactions with them in the past have been friendly but forgettable. You get the feeling that people working there are in transit – they’re there to build their CVs and then move on when something more exciting and dynamic comes along.

This is fine of course. What you see is what you get is not a bad selling point for a bank. But with technology evolving with ferocity and online finance becoming more and more preferred, you have to wonder whether a bank so set in its ways will meet your needs a year from now.

Diamond Trust Bank they are a stable but largely dormant bank.

DTB Classic Account


  • Free access to mobile banking
  • Free access to e-statements

Access to discounted emergency ambulance services


  • Mastercard gold debit card – Ksh 500
  • Withdrawals from DTB ATMs – Ksh 30
  • Withdrawals from Pesa Point and Kenswitch ATMs – Ksh 70
  • Withdrawals from all other bank ATMs – Ksh 200
  • 0.25% cash handling fee for money over Ksh 1 million
  • Ledger fee per transaction – Ksh. 30


  • Certificate of Incorporation/ Registration or Certificate of Registration Form
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association for companies incorporated pre-2015 (Co. Act 486) while CR 1 and 2/3 & 8 for companies incorporated post-2015 (Co. Act 2015)
  • Partnership Deed duly signed by all partners for partnerships
  • Signed Board Resolution by at least two directors or 1 director + company secretary with affixed with a CPS stamp
  • KRA Pin Certificate
  • Proof of physical address: Business Permit, Lease Agreement, Utility Bill (indicating name and address of entity), New Generation KRA PIN Certificate (indicating name and address of entity)
  • Latest audited/ Management Accounts
  • Kenyan ID/ Valid Passport with Visa Page, Foreign Certificate/Alien Card & Tax PIN for all stakeholders (Sole Proprietors, Shareholders (owning more than 5% of the entity), Directors, Partners & Signatories
  • Practicing/Trading License (applicable for Lawyers, Insurance Companies, Brokers & Agents, Sacco’s (SASRA), CBK License (for Financial Institutions only))

Regionally available: Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda.


Stanbic Bank’s statements and reports are the clearest and easiest to understand from my experience. They will make your bookkeeping life a lot easier if you have to manually input data into your accounting software.

However, customer feedback about the bank is very poor. In-person customer service is OK, but once you go remote, you either have to wait a very long time or receive no service at all. There have been plans in the past to address the problem but it doesn’t look like enough has been done.

The automated system is also unreliable. There are reports of the system rejecting deposits, failing to update loan repayments and the app fails more times than is acceptable. Just look at the reviews on this Facebook page.

The one thing you want from your bank is for them to care. And Stanbic doesn’t look like it has enough concern for their operations at the moment.

Stanbic is owned by Standard Bank from South Africa.

Regionally available: (also operates as Standard Bank) Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, DRC, Eswatini, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Business Current Account


  • Current accounts may be operated in Kenya shillings as well as major foreign currencies
  • Access to our Business Online platform (our self-service e-channel for business account holders).
  • No limit to the number of withdrawals you may make

Price Guide


  • Minimum opening balance of Kes. 5,000
  • Minimum Monthly service fee of Kes.400
  • Business Online Monthly Subscription Kes.2,000
  • Competitive rates apply on all foreign exchange transactions with 0% commission charged.


  • Directors Board Resolution on Company Letter Head resolving to open an account(s) with
  • Copy of Company Certificate of Incorporation
  • Copy of Company KRA PIN
  • Copy of Memorandum and Articles of Association or CR1 + CR2
  • Copy of CR12 + Latest Company Annual Return
  • Copy of ID or Passport for directors (account signatories)
  • One colour passport photo for each signatory (you can email me this clearly labelled with a name for each)
  • Copy of current utility bill for all signatories and at least two directors (should be within 3 months) OR a Letter on company letterhead confirming the residential addresses for each
  • Physical address confirmation document for the Company Offices e.g. current utility bill or lease etc


Separately, NIC and CBA were good banks. CBA was the go-to bank for corporations because you could tailor-make your account according to the needs of your business. 

NIC – I’m sure it was OK, I have no idea. But I interacted with NIC on different matters and they were professional and efficient.

However, together, they are probably the worst-rated bank in the region from customer feedback. It might be because NCBA laid-off workers in 2020 that their customer service has taken such a dip. Whatever happened, if you’re not a high-ranking business, NCBA will probably make your financial life worse, not better.

NCBA’s system, both front-facing and backend, have a lot of issues and until they do something about it, I won’t bother digging deeper into their business accounts.

Regionally available: Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Ivory Coast.

Final Thoughts

So which are the best banks in Kenya for businesses? I&M looks good, but I am not so certain of their stability. I recommend paying them a visit along with ABSA (my preferred choice), KCB (choice for regional dominance), and Standard Chartered (customer service). They will be able to give you the latest fees, and terms and conditions.

You will also be able to find out all the things you need to know about integration and anything else you need for your business.

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