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Transferring money to Kenya

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Leicester, United...
posts: 6
reviews: 1
Transferring money to Kenya


I want to make a transfer to Kenya to a local travel agent who is a family friend, into her personal account, and I'm just a bit apprehensive as to how to go about it.

The payment our travel agent would like us to do involves transferring the money in US DOLLARS to a Citibank account in New York using a SWIFT code (this is an intermediary bank), and then to Prime Bank Ltd in Kenya, (which the travel agent has given me an address and account number for)...she has then given me ANOTHER account number which she says belongs to her own personal account which she says is the Ultimate beneficiary account.

My cousin has paid her in the past with the same exact details via this route and not had a problem. However, our bank is unsure how to complete the transaction? And they messed it up last time on the telegraphic transfer the first time we transferred the money, and we lost over 300 pounds when the money bounced back.

I also contacted Western Union who said they could make the payment direct into her account from UK pounds to Kenyan Shillings and we wouldn't have to go via an intermediary bank.

Can someone please just clarify for me if the above route of payment is ok? As no-one else I know has a clue!!!



posts: 13,568
1. Re: Transferring money to Kenya

Only a guess, as there are only so many spaces on the application form to input information.

Does the friend who IS to receive these funds have her account in the same bank - Prime Bank Ltd?

If so, I'd assume you provide the Swift Code, Citibank as intermediary, the Prime Bank name/ address... BUT instead of the Prime Bank account #, THE ACCOUNT # OF THE 'FRIEND.'

Good luck!

Alsace, France
posts: 2,557
reviews: 78
2. Re: Transferring money to Kenya

Do be aware that EACH and EVERY bank in this chain may or will impose their own charges for the money passing through them ... and most likely these charges will fall on you. The SWIFT or IBAN number is a legit way of transferring money between your home bank account and another account abroad. You might have to check with the banks how much they charge for money transfer ... even the Kenyan banks will charge on incoming money - or so I discovered in September 2011 ... (hope things have settled since then!).

Leicester, United...
posts: 6
reviews: 1
3. Re: Transferring money to Kenya

Thanks for your messages.

The last time the bank inputted the account of the travel agent instead of the Prime Bank one, it didn't work.

The account number of the Prime Bank was needed, which is what they missed out last time and the money bounced back.

I do have two swift codes - one for Citibank and one for Prime Bank.

And two account numbers - one for Prime Bank and one for her.

I'm assuming her account is with Prime Bank too, but unsure as to why 2 account numbers for the same Bank are required???

My cousin used the same details two years ago and had no problem, she didn't incur any costs and neither did the travel agent.

Santander (my bank) don't have a clue how to do the transaction and said they trust us that we've given them the correct details, and I have never done a Telegraphic Transfer before so I don't even have a clue!!

Nairobi, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Nairobi, Kenya
posts: 2,765
reviews: 3
4. Re: Transferring money to Kenya

Hi -

1. What are you transferring money for ? Safari booking or personal ?

2. Why can't you transfer the money straight into her A/C ?

3. Int. transfer go thro' Intermediary bank. I did a transfer & it went thro' CitiBank. It s not uncommon

4. There are Fees. Fees for doing initial transfer (your bank). Citibank also charge a fee. Recipient bank also charges a fee.

5. Don't have to worry about your money going "walkies". If transfer fails, your bank will debit your A/C with the money.

To be on the safe side, do a transfer "direct" to friend's personal A/C

I too, would be apprehensive in putting down 2 different Recepient A/C on the Transfer Form

Leicester, United...
posts: 6
reviews: 1
5. Re: Transferring money to Kenya


I'm transferring the money to a local Kenya account to Prime Bank, a travel agent's personal account for Safari booking.

I have no idea why I can't transfer the money directly into her account and I have asked her this, she has yet to get back to me.

Yes my bank charged me £25 the first time we tried the transfer, but they put the destination bank as the Citibank one, and that was the wrong one. The money bounced back to us, but we lost over 300 pounds due to currency conversions, which we luckily got back.

I'm unsure as to whether the second account number she has provided also belongs to the Prime bank one too. The 2 account numbers she has given are different lengths nor even have any similarity.

Western Union stated that they would send the money over for free directly into her account.

I think we may trial this and transfer a small amount to see if it works.

This is all the information of the payment route she has provided me for me to make the transfer:

Citibank NY with Swift code >>>> Account Number and address of Prime Bank Ltd. provided with Swift code >>>> Final Credit to: Travel Agent USD account number and Name

Leicester, United...
posts: 6
reviews: 1
6. Re: Transferring money to Kenya

Ok So I have finally spoken to her, and she has told me that the Citibank account is the intermediary bank, and Prime Bank Ltd in Kenya have an account with Citibank NY, the money will then get transferred into her own with Prime Bank Ltd as the ultimate beneficiary! And found out the payment I make has to be USD.


Naivasha, Kenya
posts: 745
reviews: 2
7. Re: Transferring money to Kenya

Hi, I have come across the same when transferring money from the UK to my Kenyan account and the intermediary bank details totally confused the UK bank, as there was no where for these details on the form. When I looked into the issue, in Kenya, I was informed that it is usual practice for an intermediary bank to be used (except perhaps for foreign owned banks such as Barclays). In fact my last transfer failed, as the bank (in Kenya) had changed their intermediary bank and I was unaware. At least the money was returned to my account - less transfer fee.

I now use Worldremit, who can transfer funds directly into my account (similar to the service offered by Western Union). This has worked well.

manchester, United...
posts: 999
reviews: 48
8. Re: Transferring money to Kenya

I do this very thing every time I pay my travel consultant in Kenya. I transfer into her Prime Bank Account from my Barclays Account and do so without problems. The last few times I have had a text from her saying she has received the money before I have even had time to get back to work. Possibly the staff at Santander are less familiar with the process. Basically you only need to put the account details for the Prime Bank account, stating that the payment is US$. Check carefully the account number, SWIFT code and Bank Code are correct - if you get these wrong your money can end up just about anywhere in the world!

If you want me to check the details you are using send me a private message.

posts: 13,568
9. Re: Transferring money to Kenya

If she has own account at Prime Bank (though no idea why she doesn't want to use the company account??? duh! = fudging with the funds??? ).... then the funds should go into her account #. I'd forget the company's account #.

Being in the States and as Citibank is my bank, I do transfer funds to a bank in Kenya (believe it's Commercial Bank or some name like that) that uses Citibank as their intermediary. The Swiftcode I use is that for Commercial Bank, indicate Citibank as the intermediary (but not a Citi Swiftcode) and there are no fees associated with such transfer.

Leicester, United...
posts: 6
reviews: 1
10. Re: Transferring money to Kenya

Ahh I see...thanks for all the messages, they are really helpful!

Val H...do you mean put down the final Prime bank account number as in her USD personal account which it needs to go to? or the Prime bank account number that they have for Citibank?....as the destination account?

The staff at Santander are useless!