Best Places To Go in Nairobi - Banks and Forex Bureaux

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Banks and Forex Bureaux in Nairobi

Nairobi is a modern city.Virtually all banks in Kenya now have ATMs at most branches, but their usefulness to travellers varies widely. Barclays Bank has easily the most reliable machines for international withdrawals, with a large network of ATMs covering most major Kenyan towns. They support MasterCard, Visa, Plus and Cirrus international networks.

Standard Chartered and Kenya Commercial Banks are also major banks in Kenya and have ATMs that accept Visa withdrawals but are more likely to decline transactions from other debit/credits cards.

It is important to note that whichever bank you use, the international data link goes down occasionally and you should not expect to be able to withdraw money whenever you need it. You can use you international  debit/credit card for shopping  as well as withdrawing money in are quite a number of networked banking machines in major shopping centres of Nairobi  including the airports cash machines.  There is a reliable Barclays cash machine near Gate 9 within the security area and another one on the left side immediately after leaving the security area.


Forex Bureaus are located in many parts of the city where tourists are common. They will exchange cash of different currencies:  Dollars, Euros and British pounds being the main currencies. They may also accept a personal cheque for Kenyan cash. They will want a photocopy of your passport before they exchange money.


The rates are always better with the banks and major banks such as Barclays, Kenya Commercial Bank and Standard Bank give better exchange rates than any of the FOREX bureaux.  some Independent machines such as Pesa-point have lower cash limits and may have a higher fee.


It is important to be aware that many exchange bureaux and hotels will not accept or exchange dollar notes printed before 2000 and even if the ever do they typically offer substantially lower exchange rates than for the notes printed after 2000. Exchange rates are generally lower for small denominations and you would be better off with $100 and $50 bills.

For shopping using Credit Cards The Nakumat and Uchumi supermarket chains would accept credit cards without a surcharge but other stores will accept international credit cards but will charge you bank fees, typically 5% of the purchase.