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Mystery shopping exercise reveals need to improve price transparency in banking sector

August 29th, 2017

Press release

Tuesday, 29th August 2017


Do you know how much it costs to run your bank account? It’s no surprise that many of us do not know the cost of banking in Kenya. Pricing information is not easy to find and sometimes even staff at bank branches do not provide accurate information.

Access to financial services has expanded rapidly over the past few years in Kenya but transparency hasn’t always followed.

We still don’t know how affordable many financial services are. Most people know how high the cost of credit in Kenya is but the deposit side has received little attention: how much does it cost to open a bank account? To operate it?

Despite wider availability, bank account usage is still low in Kenya, suggesting they’re too expensive for the average Kenyan.

FSD Kenya undertook a two-year study to understand the cost of banking in Kenya. Our researchers, or “mystery shoppers,” visited bank branches posing as customers, making follow-up phone calls and website visits to confirm data.

The study sought to answer a number of questions: How easy is it for customers to get information on bank fees and charges? What indicators should be developed to assess affordability and help customers understand the costs of basic transactions? What can the government and the private sector do to help?

What we found out was striking: it might be a lot harder for customers to understand the cost of banking than we thought. But it was also exciting: with information comes power and the better we understand the cost of banking, the better we can make it work for both banks and the average Kenyan.

The price of being banked, FSD Kenya’s new report on transparency and the cost of leading banking services in Kenya will be published on 30th August 2017. For more details see: The price of being banked/.


For interview requests, please contact Joyce Omondi Waihiga, FSD Kenya’s Communications Manager, via email

About FSD Kenya

Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Kenya was established in 2005 to support the development of financial markets in Kenya as a means to stimulate wealth creation and reduce poverty. Working in partnership with the financial services industry, the programme’s goal is to expand access to financial services among lower income households and smaller enterprises to create value through financial inclusion. FSD Kenya operates as an independent trust under the supervision of professional trustees, KPMG Kenya, with policy guidance from a Programme Investment Committee (PIC). Current funders include the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation.


Joyce Omondi Waihiga, Communications Manager, FSD Kenya |

FSD Kenya, 3rd Floor, 9-Riverside Building, Riverside Drive, Nairobi

Tel: +254 20 513 7300 | Website:

Twitter: @FSDKe #BankingTransparency



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