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send money to MPesa Kenya mobile wallet

How To Send Money to Kenya via M-Pesa From Abroad: The Best Ways in 2023

Byron Mühlberg, writer at Monito.com
Lydia Kibet

Reviewer

Oct 25, 2023
Affiliate disclosure

Most people will probably agree that M-Pesa is the best way to send and receive money, pay for goods and services, and even take out loans in Kenya. And given that everything happens directly on your mobile phone, it's probably also the most convenient too!

However, for people living abroad wanting to send a foreign currency to Kenya via M-Pesa, converting to shillings is not so simple, and the only way to get the job done is to use a third-party money transfer service. However, some of these services charge high fees by catching you on the exchange rate, meaning they're a bad deal for many people.

See our comparison below to compare the best ways to send money directly to M-Pesa in Kenya from abroad, such as Remitly, and save money in the process!

Find the best provider to send money to M-Pesa in Kenya:

Key Facts About Sending Money to M-Pesa From Abroad

🌏 Providers Available

6 (compare them here)

💰 Cheapest Total Fees

Free

⚡️ Transfer Speed

A few minutes

📞 M-Pesa Transfer Method

PIN-secured SMS

👥 Number of GCash Users

51 million+

🌍 M-Pesa Headquarters

Kenya

How to Send Money to M-Pesa in Kenya

You can instantly send money to M-Pesa from abroad using a money transfer app. You can send money from a bank account, or even transfer money from credit card to M-Pesa (although transfering from a bank account is usually cheaper). To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Use our comparison engine to find the best service;
  2. On your app's homepage, choose "Kenya" as the destination;
  3. Select ‘Mobile Money’ and 'M-Pesa' as your preferred method;
  4. Enter contact info and M-Pesa account number of recipient;
  5. Confirm the transfer amount and pay within the app!

Both M-Pesa and the online money transfer service you use will send you an email or SMS notification when your funds have been sent successfully. Transfers to mobile wallets like M-Pesa are usually instantaneous, so you should expect a notification within minutes.

Option 1: Digital Platforms

The best way to send money to Kenya via M-Pesa is to choose a digital money transfer platform. There are two excellent options (Remitly and WorldRemit) and one good option (Skrill) to compare here. Each offers M-Pesa payouts in Kenya and supports transfers from dozens of countries around the globe, including the US, UK, Germany, and South Africa.

To get started, you must sign up on one of these platforms (the process is usually quick, easy, and free) and choose M-Pesa as your delivery method. You'll then be able to enter your recipient's mobile number and name and then make a bank or card transfer from your local currency to their M-Pesa account in Kenyan shillings at excellent exchange rates. (Moreover, the money normally arrives in Kenya in only a few minutes!)

We go through each option in more detail below:

Remitly

Remitly is a US-based remittance platform that's usually the fastest and cheapest way to send money to Kenya. It supports transfers to Kenya from many countries worldwide, including the US, UK, EU, and Australia. In 2023, Remitly was the cheapest money transfers to Kenya for 44.2% of searches on Monito.com.

  • Average cost to Kenya: -1.3%
  • Available major send countries: US, UK, EU, Australia, Canada
  • Unavailable major send countries: South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Turkey
  • M-Pesa limits: USD 2,999 within 24 hours, USD 10,000 within 30 days, and USD 18,000 within 180 days
  • More info: See our full Remitly review or visit their website.

WorldRemit

WorldRemit is a UK-based online remittance provider that offers another excellent way to send money to someone's M-Pesa account in Kenya. In 2023, WorldRemit was cheapest for 20.7% of searches to Kenya on Monito.com.

  • Average cost to Kenya: 3.4%
  • Available major send countries: US, UK, EU, Australia, Canada, South Africa
  • Unavailable major send countries: Turkey
  • M-Pesa limits: $5,000 USD (or KES equivalent)
  • More info: See our full WorldRemit review or visit their website.

Skrill

Unlike Remitly and WorldRemit, Skrill isn't a money transfer platform per se but a mobile wallet that allows many features, including international money transfers. It provides a flexible and interesting way to send money to Kenya via M-Pesa. It offered the cheapest transfers for 13.2% of searches to Kenya on Monito in 2023.

  • Average cost to Kenya: 4.8%
  • Available major send countries: UK, EU, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Saudi Arabia
  • Unavailable major send countries: US, Turkey, Ghana
  • M-Pesa limits: None
  • More info: See our full Skrill review or visit their website.

Option 2: Legacy Platforms

In addition to the savvy online options we discussed above, using a traditional player like Western Union or MoneyGram is another good alternative to sending money to Kenya with M-Pesa — especially if you're sending from a smaller country that's not covered by one of the digital providers.

Although legacy platforms are usually more expensive than online platforms, they usually still offer decent exchange rates, and the cheaper option will depend on how much you're sending and the country you're sending to Kenya from. That's why we recommend you compare money transfer providers before every new transfer to Kenya.

Let's go over the leading platforms in this category:

Western Union

Western Union is the largest and oldest money transfer operator on the globe, offering money transfers to Kenya via M-Pesa from dozens of countries across the globe. Read our dedicated guide to learn more about Western Union fees.

  • Average cost to Kenya: 3.8%
  • Available major send countries: All
  • Unavailable major send countries: None
  • M-Pesa limits: Approx. USD 2,000
  • More info: See our full Western Union review or visit their website.

MoneyGram

After Western Union, MoneyGram is the second-largest money transfer operator in the world and also offers money transfers to Kenya via M-Pesa from a large number countries worldwide.

  • Average cost to Kenya: 2.6%
  • Available major send countries: All
  • Unavailable major send countries: None
  • M-Pesa limits: None
  • More info: See our full MoneyGram review or visit their website.

Small World

Usually the cheapest of the legacy operators for transfers to Kenya, Small World is another well-known alternative for sending money, and it supports transfers to M-Pesa as well as other mobile wallets.

Option 3: Banks

If you live abroad but keep a bank account in Kenya, it's sometimes possible to convert foreign currency to shillings and deposit it into somebody's M-Pesa account. For example, Equity Bank offers this service to residents in some countries abroad, including the UK.

While it can make sense if you frequently receive money into your Kenyan bank account and don't mind paying slightly higher fees, it's not a good option if you want to save money, as costs can quickly amount to more than 5% of the total transaction amount. You can learn more about the high costs of using your bank to send money abroad in our dedicated explainer.

Instead, we recommend choosing a provider on this list like Remitly or comparing money transfer providers in real-time below to find the best deal for your specific transfer:

Transfer cheaply to M-Pesa in Kenya:

FAQ About M-Pesa in Kenya

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