The Price of Being Banked: A Study on Transparency and Cost of Leading Banking Services Sold in Kenya

Results and recommendations from mystery shopping surveys with the country's 11 largest banks
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This report outlines the findings from a two-year study to understand the costs of banking services in Kenya. Two rounds of mystery shopping surveys were completed in 2015 and 2016 to build a database and measure the costs for basic bundles of transactions such as opening, running and closing bank accounts.

While conducting the study, however, it became clear that bank pricing data is difficult to obtain and that market information is still opaque. Although banks are required by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to publish "tariff guides" with all their fees and charges, the study found that many were either outdated, incomplete or lacking account-specific information. There are, however, exemplary banks with up-to-date and accessible tariff guides.

The report has three objectives:

  1. To assess price transparency - how easy it is for a bank customer to obtain information on bank fees, charges, and available products?;
  2. To develop affordability indicators that measure the cost of basic bank transactions such as opening and closing bank accounts, withdrawing and transferring money;
  3. To identify actionable recommendations to incentivize both private sector solutions as well as government policies aimed at increasing market transparency and affordability.

About this Publication

By Totolo, E., Gwer, F. & Odero, J.