Savings Accounts in Kenya: Know Your Options

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Article by: Steve Muriithi

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If there is one thing the last few months have taught us it is that savings come in handy during tough times. These unprecedented times call for the prudent use and management of financial resources. We have explored saving options before but never personal savings accounts. Savings accounts are the natural first step in your savings journey and it is important to have detailed information regarding the available options.

For starters, there are three types of accounts one can operate with the intention of saving and earning interest:

1. Call deposits

These are the most flexible as you can deposit money at any time and, similarly, withdraw it at any time. Call deposits are popular with corporate companies since they enable them to access the funds as and when required. Call deposits are short term and the deposit period can be as short as seven days. Interest on this type of savings account is calculated daily on the balance available each day.

2. Fixed deposit accounts

Fixed deposit accounts offer interest on your balance periodically and the interest accrued depends on the duration you intend to save. Withdrawing your money before the maturity date will have an impact (penalty) on the interest accrued. The interest is calculated either monthly, semi-annually or annually and depends on your bank's rates.

3. Savings account

Under most savings accounts, premature withdrawal of savings is not allowed. In others, it is allowed but one may have to forego the interest accrued. For most savings accounts, you can access loans against your savings of up to 95% of your savings. Forxcvv bn most banks, you can open a savings account with as little as Kshs 1,000.

Below are some of the interest rates offered by banks for call, savings and fixed deposits accounts.

Diamond trust bank

A fixed deposit account offers a 6.5% interest rate annually for amounts up to Kshs 150,000.

Kshs 1,000,000 for 3 months will earn 1%, and 1 year will accrue a 2% interest.

Savings of up to Kshs 100,000 will earn you 1.3% semi-annually and 3% annually.

Standard chartered bank

For balances between Kshs 100,000 and less than 2 million the annual fixed deposit rate stands at 2%.

Stanbic bank

Pure save account pays interest for balances above Kshs 5,000. For amounts below Kshs 499,000 interest earned is 3% annually.

Call deposit account pays an interest of 4% annually on balances starting from Kshs 5,000.

For fixed deposit, amounts between Kshs 100,000 - 1 million will earn the following interest under the period specified.

  • 1 month: 4.75%
  • 2 months: 5%
  • 3 months: 5.25%
  • 6 months: 5%
  • 9months: 5.25
  • 1 year:  5.5%

You will, however, lose all interest on money saved on the fixed deposit account if you happen to withdraw before the maturity date.

NCBA bank

Savings of between Kshs 5,000 to 500,000 will earn an interest of 1.5% per annum.

Fixed deposits savings of between Kshs 100,000 to 499,999 will earn an interest rate of 4.75% annually.

Absa bank

Fixed deposit account for balances starting from 1 million and below, they offer a rate of 5.5%.

Zidisha bonus account offers an annual rate of 1.2% for funds below 1 million Kenya shillings.

Call deposit account offers 1.2% annually.

KCB bank

This bank offers 5% per annum on balances above Kshs 1,000 and an opening balance of Kshs 1,000 under the Simba Savings account.


To open any of these accounts you will need your national identity card, the funds you want to deposit and in some cases, you will be required to provide a bank statement for three months. With all these accounts, you can increase your savings at your convenience, including through mobile money.

Foreign currency account

Most major banks will give you an option to save your money in foreign currency. The advantage here, for example, choosing a dollar account is that when the Kenya shilling weakens against the dollar, your savings remain relatively stable, in the event that you choose to convert your savings to Kenya shillings in future.

Negotiating interest rates

It is important to note that most of these interest rates can be negotiated with the bank depending on the amount you want to deposit. Of course, the more money you want to save the higher your bargaining power.

Before opening an account, consider the interest rate being offered and compare it with other banks. Figure out how frequently you'd like to access your money, and then, find a plan that suits your needs. Do not be afraid to ask as many questions as possible.


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