Best Banks for Small Businesses in Kenya: [Kenya Commercial Bank]

Best Bank for small businesses in Kenya Kenya Commercial Bank

Best Banks for Small Businesses in Kenya: [Chapter 2-Kenya Commercial Bank]

Small businesses have struggled to find the best banks in Kenya. But you know what? We at Wavu Business think it’s time this changed. Information on the best small business banks is missing, but it shouldn’t be. Getting a bank that will support your small business in Kenya, whether you want to expand, working capital, invoice discounting, or any other financial service for small businesses is not easy.

At Wavu Business, we believe that the best bank for small businesses should have unique characteristics customized to meet small business owners’ needs.  Has any Kenyan Bank stood out as the best bank for small businesses? In chapter 2 of this series, we will focus on Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and what it has to offer to small businesses.

In this article, Wavu Business evaluates KCB bank’s offerings and how they suit the small business landscape. Before writing the article, we constantly asked ourselves, are banks in Kenya meeting the needs of the small businesses in Kenya?

In this chapter, you will find details on Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) against Wavu small business optimized banking criteria :

  • Ease of access to funds
  • Loan facilities, including the interests
  • Customer complaints
  • Location (number of branches)
  • Customer service & Small business support (training or business clubs)
  • Fees (on current business accounts and debit cards)
  • Internationalization (How can you use the bank for cross-border payments?)
  • Ecommerce

Disclaimer: This article is part of a series of articles examining the Kenya Banking environment to know whether a bank efficiently serves the small business market. This is part 2 or chapter 2 in the series.

Loading poll ...

Kenya Commercial Bank [KCB]

Kenya Commercial Bank’s (KCB) commitment to serving small businesses can be seen through its investment in small business solutions. But is it the bank for small businesses?

According to information on the bank’s official website, the bank headquarters are in Nairobi, Kenya. KCB operates subsidiary banks in Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, and Burundi. Most recently, KCB bank entered the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by acquiring a Trust Merchant Bank (TMB) stake.

Keep in mind that the information shared in this article is in the public domain. This information may change with access to more information from KCB small business customers or insiders.

The first thing we did, we reviewed KCB Bank’s website, and below is a screenshot of the bank’s current solutions for small businesses:

Best banks for small businesses in Kenya

Fig 1: Screenshot of KCB Bank Small Business Solutions (

If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur in Kenya, you might ask yourself, where can I get the best bank for small businesses in Kenya? Perhaps you want a bank with better customer services, more offers, and easy access to business lending. But if you have been in business long enough, you know that finding a great bank for small businesses in Kenya is a daunting task. But let’s look at KCB Bank’s offerings for small businesses closely.

Fig 1 above shows that the KCB bank solution for your biashara goes beyond account opening and deposit-taking. However, let’s look deeper into KCB’s offering by looking at the various factor:

Customer Service & Small Business Bank Support

KCB Bank has done a good job in customer service. We did research on its customer service lines and found that the bank maintains a frequently asked questions (FAQ) question section on its website. Apart from the knowledge base, KCB also provides customer support through Twitter. For KCB mobile customer support, the bank offers three numbers: +25411087000, +254202287001, and +254732187000. For the KCB WhatsApp number, the bank can be reached at +254711087087. Customers can also send emails to the support center via You can also contact the bank directly through the contact us form on their website. You access the form here.

As you can tell, KCB bank takes customer support seriously. KCB bank has different access points, from WhatsApp to direct calls. We made a call to KCB bank via the given channels. We noticed that the WhatsApp number and the Twitter channel were the most responsive.  Despite having different access points, KCB Bank does not offer dedicated 24/7 priority support to small businesses.

Regarding supporting small businesses through training, we found that the KCB Bank offers a biashara club membership to its small business owners or entrepreneurs. The biashara club helps bring together entrepreneurs from different categories. Biashara clubs are important for entrepreneurs because they drive better business.

Wavu Business Ticker: A small business bank is a bank that has dedicated support for SMEs (formal and informal). A small business bank will not only provide training to businesses but also have the best customer service.

Loan Facilities

Think about it; you want to work with a bank that can help you expand with fair business loans. After reviewing KCB’s bank loan facility, we found that the bank offers loans individually. This means that some businesses can access loans, and others cannot. But what type of business loans does KCB Bank offers? Take a look at the website below:

small business loans in Kenya

When it comes to loans for small businesses, KCB Bank business loans are unique, and many are as follows:

Boresha biashara loan [Hybrid: Secured & Unsecured]

The Boresha biashara loan is a loan that is optimized for micro businesses. The loan allows micro-small businesses to get up to KES 1 million with a repayment period of 36 months.  To get the Boresha biashara loan, your business must:

  • Have a KCB bank account for at least 6 months, have one year
  • Be in business for 1 year.
  • Show that you can repay the loan.
  • Have a guarantor for amounts of up to Kes 500,000
  • Have assets such as title deed, cash cover, livestock, and shares as collateral for amounts of above $ 500,000
  • Have credit life insurance in case you die or become permanently disabled.

Boda Boda Loan [Secured]

Boda Boda are some of the leading entrepreneurs in Kenya. The KCB Boda Boda loan is unique and is an asset finance type. You can take upto 70% loan to buy your Boda Boda.  The Boda Boda loan comes with comprehensive insurance of kes. 9,600 per year, a repayment period of 12 months for Boda Boda.

What do I need to get a Boda Boda Loan?

According to KCB, getting the Boda Boda loan is straightforward. You need to meet the following requirements:

  • Have a proforma invoice from the Boda Boda seller
  • Valid driving license
  • Show that you can repay the loan through collateral
  • A guarantor with a KCB bank where the log book for the Boda Boda will be used as collateral
  • 6 months KCB banking history or 3 months if you are a group

Jaza Duka [Secured]

The Java Duka loan is an interesting loan type geared toward helping small traders. The Jaza Duka is a cash advance for small businesses working with Unilever. It is a form of buy now pay later (BNPL) where small shops can buy stock and pay later. We explored the Jaza Duka loan and did not find the application requirements.

Soko or Market Loan [Unsecured]

The Soko loan, as it sounds, helps traders get to Kes. 100,000 in unsecured loans. For example, if you are a mama mboga, you can apply for the Soko loan.

What do you need to get the soko loan?

  • Guarantee by three other market traders
  • Security or collateral
  • An application form signed by a market association leader confirming membership
  • 6 months’ account statements from other banks or M-Pesa
  • Letter from market association leader to inform the bank if trading has changed.

Trade Finance [Unsecured]

Retail finance is a trade finance loan offered on unsecured terms to help small businesses stock up or restock their inventory. The interesting thing about the trade finance loan is that it comes at a 0.036% per day interest rate or 13.4 % per year. The loan has a cap of Kes. 1,000,000.

To get the trade finance loan, you will need the following:

  • Profile write-up on the distributor.
  • The one-year trading relationship between retailer and distributor
  • Distributors audited accounts (3 years)
  • CRB report for the business and its directors

The maximum trade finance amount is Kes. 500,000 per distributor. Wavu Business finds this loan an effective support loan for small businesses looking to grow.

Overdraft Facilities

An overdraft facility is a loan facility extended to small businesses to allow them to take money out of their banks on credit. The overdraft facility is best suite for small businesses looking for working capital. It replenishes your business’s working capital and allows you to run smoothly.

To get the KCB overdraft facility for your business, you need a personal guarantee from the directors, 3 years of financial statements, and the physical location of your business.

SME Term Loans

The SME term loan given at KCB allows entrepreneurs to get Kes. 3 million in unsecured loans or Kes. 250 million in secure loans for 36 to 60 months.

To get the short-term loan, you need to have a breakdown of the project costs and financing plan along with an audited account for 3 years.  This type of loan may be expensive because it comes at an interest rate of 13% percent, along with a 3% negotiation fee.

Learn institution Loans

Small businesses include learning institutions. The bank has created a unique offering for learning institutions to support ongoing constructions. Schools, both private and public, can get upto Kes. 3 M in unsecured loans for private schools and Kes. 20 million for public schools. The offer also comes with an unsecured overdraft option of upto Kes. 2 million with a 6-month repayment period.

School loans can be accessed by providing:

  • a certificate of registration with the Ministry of Education
  •  the business’s PIN certificate
  •  board resolution
  • 3 years financial statement
  •  2-month bank statement
  •  articles of Association
  • certificate of incorporation
  •  NEMA certificate and collateral documents.

M-Pesa Agent Loan [Unsecured]

The M-Pesa Agent loan is a customized loan category for M-Pesa agents. The loan is only provided to Mpesa agents and borrowed against your commission. The M-Pesa Agent loan ranges from Kes. 100,000 to Kes. 10 million unsecured.

Why is this loan facility so attractive? We did some research and found that Safaricom guarantees the facility.

To get the M-Pesa agent loan, you must provide:

  • An application forms
  • Trading license
  • Registration Certificate
  • Projected cash flows for 6 months
  • Audited accounts for 3 years
  • Letter of assignment of agency receivables signed and accepted by Safaricom.
  • Customer consent for KCB to get information from Safaricom’s audit platform
  • Evidence of 12 months of trade in terms of cash flow

KCB Mpesa loan [Unsecured]

The KCB Mpesa loan is an unsecured loan offer similar to the Eazzy loan offered by Equity Bank.

Asset-Based Finance [Secure]

Asset-based finance is a small business loan that purchases motor vehicles, school buses, and agricultural or construction equipment. All assets can be bought at 95% financing within 72 months. To get the car loan, you need to have the following:

  • Application form
  • Company memo
  • 12 months bank statement
  • Proforma invoice from the supplier
  • Valuation report for vehicles
  • Copy of the logbook
  • Certified copy of company incorporation and PIN

Dairy and Livestock Loan [Secured]

What does KCB bank have for farmers? The first offer is the Dairy and Livestock loan. The loan begins at kes. 50,000 upto Kes. 2 million with the animal as the security. Customers are given upto 24 months to repay the loan.

The product is best suited for small business owners in dairy farming, milk vendors, and milk product transporters.

But to get this loan, users must be members of KCB and have an active dairy farm active for 1 year.

Farm asset loan [Secured]

The farm asset loan is also targeting small businesses in the agriculture industry. According to KCB bank’s website, you can get a farm asset loan of upto Kes. 250 million to buy commercial farming equipment or construct greenhouses, oil processing equipment trucks, chaff cutters, and tractors.

The purpose of this loan category for small businesses extends to the purchase of bio-digesters and working capital loans for agro vets, cereal traders and agro-processors.

Crop loans [Secured]

The KCB bank offers something unique to farmers. In the crop loan category, the bank offered structured loans, contracted crop loans, horticulture loan, farm development loans, and Mavuno tea loans.

Tuungane Investment loans [for Chamas]

The Tuungane investment loan is meant for Chamas and groups. We also consider Chamas to be businesses, which is why we covered them in this category.

As you can tell KCB Bank offers more than 15 loan categories for small businesses.

Ease of Access to Funds

Some of the small business loan facilities, such as the KCB Mpesa loan, can be accessed with the tap of your finders. The KCB Mpesa is very popular among traders and is similar to the Eazzy Equity loan. Accessing other business loans at KCB is not straightforward, and like other banks, you have to fill paperwork. Banks that care about small businesses should be paperless and accept digital loan processing.

What Do You Need to Apply for Business Loan at KCB Bank?

To get a loan for your small business in Kenya via KCB Bank, you need to have the following:

  • Agency authority confirmation from Safaricom
  • Duly completed application form
  • Evidence of trade in terms of cash flow for the last 12 months from Agency MIS and existing accounts from a financial institution
  • Trading license & registration certificate
  • Project cash flows for the next 6 months
  • Board resolution & Director guarantees for limited liability companies
  • Letter of assignment of agency receivables duly signed by the customer and accepted by Safaricom
  • Commissions earned from Safaricom should be paid through the KCB account

How much Does is Cost to Take a Loan at KCB Bank

  • 13% per year
  • 3 % negotiation fees
  • Tax

Scenario: Business XYZ is a hardware store than wants a loan of Ksh. 10,000.

Fee= (10,000 * 0.03)

= 100

Tax (20%) = (10,000 * .2)

= 1000

You will get Kes.  8900

How much will you pay back? (10,000*113%)= Ksh. 11,300

Verdict: It is moderately difficult to access business loans, especially if the business is informal.

Small Business Complaints

Getting customer complaints and business reviews for banks is not easy. There is no specific platform from which you can get genuine bank business reviews except on Wavu Business Reviews. For the purpose of this article, we explored complaints from social media, more so on Twitter.

Below are a number of screenshots. In the screenshot, KCB is praised for excellent customer service. However, some screenshots show that the bank fails due to employee negligence.

KCB Bank Reviews

From the two screenshots above collected from Twitter, customers complain about communication and poor service, and others praise the company for great service.

Regarding customer complaints, we give KCB Bank a B for great customer service and fewer complaints.


Information from KCB Bank confirms that the company operates over 205 branches and 420 ATMs and serves around 29.3 million customers. The bank’s extensive network makes is accessible from different locations. Small business owners, entrepreneurs, and traders can access the bank from the nearest branch. The extensive network and reach make KCB bank appropriate for small businesses.

Digital Access/ Ecommerce

As a small business, you want a bank that can deliver financial services online through the web or mobile. KCB Bank is one of the most digital survey banks in Kenya. We have confirmed this, and customers have confirmed it. KCB offers its financial services through mobile banking apps and also through internet banking.

Regarding mobile banking, KCB bank has two key solutions: Mobi Grow and Mobi Chama. The Mobi grow option is a mobile account that helps smallholder farmers. The solution can be accessed using a USSD code *225#. The second solution, Mobi Chama, is a digital account for Chamas or groups.

We investigated further and found that KCB bank offers its API to small businesses that want to expand their services.  Small businesses can access API from the bank through the famous Buni APIs platform. The Buni API platform is an eCommerce project that supports entrepreneurs or startups in the fintech sector.

Fees (On Current Business Account and on a Debit Card)

Small business banking at KCB bank can open a range of accounts, such as a current account, a community account, an agent account, a business savings account, and learning institution accounts.

The SME’s current business account is the best solution for small businesses. When you open the account, you will get a cheque-book, free monthly installments, and a business loan. But what about the fees?

According to the Bank, through its official website, operating the SME small business current account does not have a minimum balance requirement, and small businesses can access unsecured loans of upto 3 million.

In terms of fees, the KCB Bank confirms that having a small business current account will cost Kes. 300 monthly maintenance fees, an ATM withdrawal fee of Kes. 30, and a local currency Bankers Cheque at Kes. 200.  The charges highlighted are not inclusive of tax.


What happens if I am a freelancer? Do banks support the freelance economy?  Our research indicates that the freelance economy is the least supported economy by the banking sector.  The Diaspora banking solution is the nearest solution to supporting businesses’ work beyond borders.

A further review reveals that the KCB group has not done much to help the freelance economy, and this is a major weakness in a forward-looking bank like KCB.

Hey, There!

Want to Hear more on Small Businesses?

Be inspired by small business stories. Learn something new and make better business decisions with verified insight.

Samson is the CEO ]of Wavu Business and accomplished author