Bank Review: Absa Bank—Everything you need to know

Absa Bank Kenya Plc was established in 1916 when the National Bank of South Africa opened a branch at Mombasa and merged with the Anglo-Egyptian Bank and the Colonial Bank in 1925.

Bank Review: Absa Bank—Everything you need to know

Absa Bank Kenya, a subsidiary of Absa Group Limited, is a financial service provider that offers conventional and Islamic banking products to individuals, businesses, and corporations.

Formerly known as Barclays Bank of Kenya, Absa Bank is also focused on driving sustainability for small businesses by providing them with the skills and information they need to grow.

This article covers the products and services offered by Absa Bank.

History

Absa Bank Kenya Plc was established in 1916 when the National Bank of South Africa opened a branch at Mombasa and merged with the Anglo-Egyptian Bank and the Colonial Bank in 1925.

The Kenyan subsidiary from the merger was incorporated as Barclays Bank of Kenya, a subsidiary of Barclays Bank International.

In February 2020, Barclays Bank of Kenya was renamed Absa Bank Kenya.

Absa Bank Kenya is also focused on improving economic and social functions in 3 areas: education and skills, enterprise development (ED), and financial inclusion.

You can learn more about Absa Bank’s societal programs here.

Absa Bank products and services

Absa bank offers conventional and Islamic banking products to individuals, businesses and corporations. These products are grouped into:

Personal bank accounts

Absa Bank offers different types of personal bank accounts to individuals. Some of its personal bank account products are:

Absa One current account

This is a current account that gives its account holders access to Absa digital channels, cheque books, prepaid cards, and unsecured loans of up to KES6 million ($50,940.36).

The account is free to open and no monthly fee is charged to the account.

Ultimate account

This is a current account that gives account owners access to bundled services for a flat monthly fee.

Ultimate account owners also enjoy monthly rewards, free insurance and access to unsecured loans of up to KES6 million ($50,940.36).

Ignite account

The ignite account is a current account for students. No fees are charged to the account.

Ignite accounts owners also get access to Absa Ready to Work programme.

Zidisha rewards account

This is an interest-earning savings account that pays interest when you reach your savings goals.

No amount is required to open the account. Zidisha rewards account owners also earn rewards from Absa Bank.

Junior savings account

This is a savings account for children. The account also enjoys access to a free piggy bank and exclusive access to Absa Junior partners' events and discounts.

Other Absa Bank personal bank accounts fall under the following categories: prestige bank account, premier account, current accounts, and savings accounts.

How to open an Absa Bank account

You can open an Absa One current account by visiting an Absa Bank branch near you. All you need is

  • Your KRA PIN
  • Your national identity card or passport
  • One passport photograph
  • Valid student ID or a letter of admission (for student accounts)
  • Original birth certificate or adoption papers if the child is adopted (for children accounts)

You can also open an account online here. All you need is

  • Your KRA PIN
  • Your national identity card  passport
  • A copy of your signature

Personal loans

Absa Bank also offers different types of loans to its individuals. Some of its personal loan products are

Unsecured loan non-check off

This is an uncollateralized loan and repayments are removed from your salary. You can borrow up to KES 6 million ($50,940.36) for a flexible repayment period of up to 96 months.

Requirements

  • Your latest payslip
  • Your National ID card or passport
  • Your KRA PIN
  • One passport photograph
  • Non-Absa account holders must also bring their bank statements for the past three months

Unsecured loan check-off

This is a scheme loan that is available to self-employed, employed, or contract workers. You can borrow up to KES 6 million ($50,940.36) for up to 72 months.

Other types of personal loans are home loans and car loans.

You can apply for an Absa personal loan by visiting any Absa Bank branch near you.

You can also use Absa Bank’s home loan calculator here and its personal loan calculator here.

Absa personal bank cards

Absa bank offers five different types of credit cards to customers. They are:

Requirements

To apply for a credit card, you need:

  • A copy of your National ID or passport
  • Your latest pay slips
  • One passport photograph
  • Non-Absa customers must also present their bank statements for the past 3 months

Multi-currency prepaid card

Absa Bank’s multi-currency prepaid cards give its owners the chance to shop and pay bills locally and abroad in nine major currencies.

You can load money to your Absa prepaid card through Absa’s paybill number (303069).

You do not need a bank account to apply for the card; all you need is a copy of your  ID,  your KRA PIN, and a passport photograph.

Absa Bank insurance products

Absa Bank Kenya offers insurance products and services to both individuals and businesses. Its individual insurance products fall under these categories:

Absa’s business insurance policies cover:

  • Fire and other natural disasters (such as lightning and explosion)
  • Property cover for buildings, furniture, fixtures and fittings, plant and machinery, and stock
  • Asset insurance
  • Marine insurance
  • Employee benefit covers
  • Liability covers

You can learn more about Absa’s SME insurance covers here

Business bank accounts

Absa Bank offers different types of bank accounts to businesses of all sizes. Some of its business bank account products are:

Absa One business account

This is a pay-as-you-go business bank account. Absa one business account owners get access to Lipa na MPESA buy goods and PayBill facilities.

They also enjoy access to unsecured business loans and overdraft facilities. No amount is required to open the account.

She business account

The She business is designed for women-led businesses to gain access to affordable loans, local and international markets, as well as coaching and mentorship from Absa Bank.

A maintenance fee of KES 350 ($2.97) is charged to the account monthly and no amount is required to open the account.

Zidisha business savings account

This is an interest-earning savings account for businesses. The interest is paid every quarter and no amount is required to open the account.

Other Absa business account falls under 2 main categories: commercial accounts and SME business accounts

Businesses can open a business account by visiting an Absa Bank branch or by filling out the form here.

Absa Bank’s business loans

Absa Bank offers two types of loans to businesses. They are

Business loans

Absa Bank’s business loans have flexible repayment periods. These loans are:

  • Unsecured LPO Financing of up to KES 12 million ($101,880.72)
  • Unsecured Invoice Discounting of up to KES 50 million ($424,503.00)
  • Unsecured Bid Bonds of up to KES 6 million ($50,940.36)
  • Unsecured loans of KES 6M ($50,940.36) with up to 60 months repayment period
  • Secured loans with 10 years repayment period

To qualify for this loan, the business must be at least 3 years old and apply for a minimum amount of KES100,000 ($849.01).

Business mortgage loan

These are loans given to businesses that want to purchase or lease a property for their business.

Businesses must be at least 4 yeast old to qualify for Absa’s mortgage loans and the maximum loan amount will be determined by the value of the property and Absa Bank.

Loan requirements

The requirements depend on the type of business

For sole proprietors
  • The business certificate of registration
  • Your National identification card (for Kenyan citizens)/passport (non-Kenyans)
  • One passport photograph
  • Your KRA PIN
  • A sealed and signed Absa account opening pack
  • Documents showing the residential address (name estate, road and house number) of all signatories
  • Documents showing the company’s physical address
  • Personal return statement
  • A revenue stamp
For limited liability companies
  • The company’s certificate of incorporation or certificate of compliance
  • The company’s memorandum and articles of association/CR8, CR12
  • The company’s PIN certificate
  • The national identification card (for Kenyan citizens)/passport (for foreigners) of all the company’s directors (plus ultimate beneficiary owners if the company is owned by other companies) and signatories
  • One passport photograph for each of the company’s signatories and directors/known agents
  • A board’s resolution specifying the signing powers on the company letter-head sealed with the company seal
  • A sealed and signed Absa account opening pack
  • Residential address confirmation (name estate, road and house number) for all directors and signatories
  • Documents showing the company’s physical address
  • The company’s annual returns (for companies registered a year ago)
  • A revenue stamp

Businesses can apply for Absa Bank’s business loans by visiting an Absa Bank Branch with the required documents.

Merchant services

This is a payment solution for businesses to accept card payments from their customers.

Required documents

The requirements depend on the type of business

For sole proprietors
  • The business certificate of registration
  • Your National identification card (for Kenyan citizens)/Passport (non-Kenyans)
  • One passport photograph
  • Your KRA PIN
  • A sealed and signed Absa account opening pack
  • Documents showing the residential address (name estate, road and house number) of all signatories
  • Documents showing the company’s physical address
  • Personal return statement
  • A revenue stamp
For limited liability companies
  • The company’s certificate of incorporation or certificate of compliance
  • The company’s memorandum and articles of association/CR8, CR12
  • The company’s PIN certificate
  • The national identification card (for Kenyan citizens)/Passport (for foreigners) of all the company’s directors (plus ultimate beneficiary owners if the company is owned by other companies) and signatories
  • One passport photograph for each of the company’s signatories and directors/known agents
  • A board’s resolution specifying the signing powers on the company letter-head sealed with the company seal
  • A sealed and signed Absa account opening pack (sealed )
  • Residential address confirmation (name estate, road and house number) for all directors and signatories
  • Documents showing the company’s physical address
  • The company’s annual returns (for companies registered a year ago)
  • A revenue stamp

Businesses can apply for Absa Bank’s merchant services by visiting an Absa Bank Branch with the required documents.

Absa business cards

Absa Bank offers credit and prepaid cards to businesses.

Absa’s company credit cards help businesses manage and track their transactions while prepaid cards can be used by the business to make and receive payments in 9 different currencies.

Businesses can apply for a company credit card by visiting an Absa Bank branch with a guarantee in the form of a fixed deposit/guarantee equivalent.

Businesses can apply for an Absa prepaid card by visiting an Absa Bank branch or by filling out the form here.

Absa Bank also offers forex solutions, liquid asset management, and market-making as part of its market solutions.

Islamic banking

These are Shariah-compliant bank accounts, loans, and investment products and services offered to individuals and businesses.

Some of its Islamic banking products are:

La Riba current account

This is a non-interest earning current account that is available in USD and GBP.

No amount is required to open the account and no monthly fee is charged to the account.

How to open a La Riba current account

You can open an Absa One current account by visiting an Absa Bank branch near you with the following:

  • Your KRA PIN
  • Your national identity card or passport
  • One passport photograph
  • Your certified latest payslip
  • Bank statement for the past three months (non-Absa Bank account owners)

You can also open an account online here. All you need is

  • Your KRA PIN
  • Your national identity card  passport
  • A copy of your signature

Absa One La Riba business current account

This is a Shariah-compliant account for businesses.

It is a pay-as-you-go account with a KES 50 ($0.42) charge on each transaction and a KES 125 ($1.06) charge on scheduled payments.

Businesses also get access to Islamic trade and asset finance facilities. No amount is required to open the account.

Businesses can open an Absa One La Riba account by visiting an Absa Bank branch or by filling out the form here.

Shariah-compliant investments

Absa Bank invests your funds in an investment pool based on Absa Bank’s Mudharaba principles and made up of shariah-compliant businesses.

The investment has a flexible deposit period of 1-60 months. A minimum amount of KES50,000 ($424.50) is required to get started.

Requirements

Simply visit any Absa Bank Branch with your

  • Your KRA PIN
  • Your national identity card or passport
  • One passport photograph
  • Your certified latest payslip
  • Bank statement for the past three months (non-Absa Bank account owners)

You can learn more about Absa Bank’s Islamic bank products here

Absa digital banking

Absa internet banking

Absa Bank’s internet banking allows customers to perform banking activities online. With Absa’s internet banking, you can:

  • View your account information.
  • Request for your account statement
  • Transfer funds to other accounts and other mobile money wallets
  • View and manage your credit cards and loans.
  • Link your accounts (both credit card and additional bank accounts).
  • Carry out foreign exchange and international transactions.
  • Pay your bills
  • Purchase airtime
  • Request for a chequebook

You can register for Absa Bank Kenya’s internet banking here or by visiting an Absa Bank branch near you.

How to  transfer money to mobile money wallets with Absa’s internet banking

  • Login to Absa’s internet banking platform here
  • Select Load Airtel Money or Load Mpesa
  • Choose the account you want to transfer from
  • Select New Payee
  • Top up My mobile number or Other mobile number
  • Input the amount  you want to send
  • Input the recipient's phone number (you can add the number to your  payee list) click next
  • Confirm the transaction details and click next
  • Enter your OTP and click next to complete the transaction

Absa Bank’s mobile banking (Hello money *224#)

Absa’s USSD code (*224#) allows customers to perform bank activities on their mobile phones without an internet connection.

With Absa Bank’s USSD code, you can:

  • Transfer money to other accounts
  • Check your account balance
  • Request for a mini account statement
  • Transfer funds to and from mobile money wallets (MPesa and Airtel Money)
  • Buy airtime
  • Pay your bills

How to register for Absa Bank’s mobile banking

  • Dial *224#
  • Select Language (English or Swahili)
  • Select the self-registration option
  • Input your account number
  • Press 1 to accept terms and conditions
  • Input your date of birth
  • Input your card details (card number, its expiry date, and its CVV number)
  • You will receive a confirmation message and a temporary banking PIN via SM

How to transfer money from an Absa bank account to a mobile wallet

  • Dial *224# on your mobile phone
  • Input your PIN
  • Select option 2 ‘Mpesa/Airtel Money
  • Choose the mobile money operator you want to transfer the funds to (MPESA or Airtel Money)
  • Select the type of wallet you want to transfer the funds to by choosing between To own number or To other number
  • Choose between this is a one-off transfer or transfer to a saved beneficiary
  • Input the recipient's mobile number
  • Input the amount you want to send
  • Select the account you want to transfer the funds from
  • Press 1 to confirm the transaction

ATM banking

Absa Bank Kenya’s ATMs allow customers to

  • Withdraw and deposit cash
  • Transfer money to other accounts
  • Redeem cash vouchers

Absa Bank mobile app

The Absa mobile app allows you to perform bank transactions with your mobile phone. With the Absa bank app, you can:

  • Manage your Absa bank account
  • Transfer funds to local and international accounts
  • Pay bills
  • Buy airtime

How to register for Absa mobile bank app

  • Download the Absa Kenya Mobile App from the Appstore, Playstore, or Huawei Appgallery
  • Tap Register
  • Input your account details and tap Continue
  • Select your preferred verification method
  • Fill out the verification method you chose and tap continue
  • Input the OTP you receive from Absa Bank
  • Create an online banking username and password

Abby

This is Absa Bank’s chatbot which is available on Absa’s mobile bank app and website. With the chatbot, you can:

  • Transfer money to other accounts
  • Check your Absa bank account balance
  • Get answers to your banking questions
  • Pay your bills  

You can use Abby by sending a Whatsapp message to  +254 710 130000 or by using the chat function on the Absa Bank website.

You need to use the number tied to your Absa bank account and be registered for Absa’s internet banking to use the Abby chat function on Whatsapp.

NovoFX app

This is a digital app for Absa Bank customers to check out FX rates and make free international payments in 14 different currencies.

You can download the NovoFX app from the Appstore and Playstore. All you need is your Absa Bank internet login credentials to use the app.

Frequently asked questions

What is Absa Bank USSD code

*224#

What is Absa Bank Kenya’s contact information

Head office: Absa Bank Kenya PLC Headquarters, Off Waiyaki Way Westlands, PO Box 30120, Nairobi Kenya.

Telephone number: +(254) (20) 4254000

You can find an Absa Bank branch near you here

What is Absa Bank Kenya’s customer care number

You can speak to an Absa Bank Kenya customer care agent by calling +254 (20) 3900000, +254 (722) 130120, and +254 (732) 130120 (Mobile).

You can also send an email to absa.kenya@absa.africa or a WhatsApp message to +254 710 130000.

What is Absa Bank’s website

You can visit Absa Bank Kenya’s website here.

You can also visit its Meta (Facebook), Twitter, and Instagram pages.

How can I use Absa Bank’s digital products

You can view Absa Bank’s help guides here

What is Absa Bank Kenya’s SWIFT code

ABSAZAJJ

What is Absa Bank’s paybill number

Absa Bank’s paybill number is 303030

How much does Absa Bank charge

You can view Absa Bank Kenya’s transaction fees by viewing its tariff guide.

Conclusion

Absa Bank Kenya offers conventional and Islamic products to both individuals and businesses.

Kenyans that frequently travel or transact in foreign currencies will enjoy the bank’s discounts, bank accounts, and card product offerings.  

Its website is a little tricky to navigate, but it does a good job of explaining how to use and apply for the bank's products and services.

Sources

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absa_Bank_Kenya

https://www.absabank.co.ke/media-centre/press-releases/barclays-bank-kenya-officially-becomes-absa-bank-kenya-plc/#:~:text=10%20February%202020,following%20all%20necessary%20regulatory%20approvals.