How to open a multi-currency bank account in Kenya

Winner Ajibola


Most countries have their own unique currency, making international transactions a bit complex. If you’re visiting or sending money to a foreign country, you’d have to convert your Kenyan shillings into their currency to transact.

And this could mean spending valuable time in the money exchange process. There’s also the cost of fees and other transfer limitations on your local or domiciliary bank accounts.

However, with a multicurrency bank account, you’d automatically take away these boundaries with the freedom to transact across borders. This global account is ideal for both personal and business payments.

This post will explain what a multi-currency account means, why, and how you can open one in Kenya.

What is a Multi-Currency Bank Account?

As the name implies, a multicurrency bank account is an account that allows you to carry out transactions in multiple currencies. Here, you can send, receive or keep multiple currencies in one account.

So instead of opening multiple foreign accounts, you can have a single account number and use it irrespective of the account you want to operate.

You can also access your money whenever you need to make a transfer. Depending on the banking institution, you’d be eligible to earn interest on the funds in your account.

In the past, these foreign currencies used to be associated with business owners and influential people via Citibank and other private banking services. These days, you can get a multi-currency account from most global banking services.

However, before opening one, ensure it’s the right fit for your current needs. If it isn’t, there are better alternatives you can explore.

Benefits of Opening a Multi-Currency Bank Account

If you’re thinking about opting for this type of foreign account, here are a few reasons why you open one;

1. Convenience: If you have to make or receive payments in different currencies constantly, it’s easier to do this from a single account. You don’t have to manage multiple accounts for different clients/currencies.

2. Fair exchange rates: When you use a multi-currency bank account, the exchange rates for sending money or conversions are typically cheaper than bank rates.

Also, since you don’t have to convert currencies frequently, you’d save money by not having to deal with regular foreign exchange.

Disadvantages of Opening a Multi-Currency Bank Account

Like every other banking option, there’s a disadvantage to using a multi-currency account. If you need an account for just occasional international transactions, we recommend opting for an alternative foreign account, and here’s why;

1. High fees

To maintain a multi-currency account, you tend to pay a significant fee. For starters, you have to pay a fee to open an account. Afterward, you’d pay transfer and other transaction fees.

There are also annual maintenance fees. Although these fees might not seem excessive, eventually, they add up to a significant sum. 

Since multi-currency accounts are set up for frequent and high-volume international transactions, it isn’t an ideal option for occasional travel transactions or transfers. 

Send and Receive Money Globally with Grey

There are alternative ways to make international transactions without spending a fortune on high fees. We recommend opening a foreign account with Grey. With Grey, you can;

  • Open a foreign account for free without leaving the comfort of your house
  • Receive foreign payments from your clients, employers, or loved ones
  • Transfer and send international payments
  • Convert multiple foreign currencies into Kenyan shillings at competitive currency exchange rates
  • Transact in USD, EUR, GBP, UGX, NGN, KES, and more
  • Withdraw to Mpesa or your mobile money account
  • Enjoy reliable customer support
  • Convenience with a mobile app for on-the-go banking

Grey is also regulated by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and Financial Transactions and Report Analysis Center (FINTRAC). So you’re sure of a secure and safe transaction.

How to Open a Multi-Currency Bank Account in Kenya

If you’d like to proceed with a multi-currency bank account, you can simply visit a standard bank to request for a multi-currency account. While not all banks will offer this option, global banks like Citi and Standard Chartered bank can allow you to open this type of foreign account.

However, if you’re thinking about an alternative way to make foreign transactions in multiple currencies? Start by opening a free Grey account here.

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