15 Best credit cards in Kenya

Credit cards offer a host of benefits, from rewards and cashback to complimentary travel insurance and extended warranties. The best credit cards in Kenya combine these advantages and provide excellent perks and benefits for both businesses and individuals. Therefore, we have searched the market to find the best credit cards in Kenya to help you make the right choice.

If you’re looking to buy something, whether it be a new sofa or a few groceries, there’s no shame in using a credit card. There’s also no shame in having a bit of knowledge in hand when it comes to the best credit cards in Kenya — here are our top picks.

Credit Cards in Kenya

How Do Credit Cards work?

The bank offers you a credit card with a limit on how much you can spend. The limit you get depends on your income or that of your business.

You can use your credit card to buy items online or pay for fuel. Once you swipe the credit card, the details are sent to the bank. The bank reviews the transactions and sends approval to process the transaction. The bank pays the merchant, and your credit limit is reduced.

The credit card issuer gives you a grace period. This is the time between the purchase date and the payment date. At the end of the month, the bank will send you a statement with your current balance, minimum payment due, and payment date. If you pay the amount you spent, then there will be no interest charged.

If you carry forward the amounts spent, the bank charges you interest.

 

Credit Card Charges You Should Know About

Credit cards come with numerous fees, some of which can be avoided. These fees and terms are outlined in the cardholder agreement. The agreement outlines all the fees you will be charged for using the card. These are the main fees you incur when using a credit card.

Annual fees

Most credit card providers will charge an annual fee. In Kenya, most banks charge KSH 3000 to 8,000 in annual credit card fees. Most credit card companies charge an annual fee. However, they may waive the joining fees occasionally.

Interest charge

Credit cards will charge interest on the pending balance at the end of the month. The rate is stated in the cardholder agreement as the annual percentage rate (APR). Some cards charge a fixed APR while others charge a variable one. Most credit cards in Kenya charge a variable interest rate ranging from 1.18% to 5% per month.

Most credit card companies will give you an interest-free grace period of up to 60 days. During this period, any balance on your credit card is interest-free.

Late payment fees

Every time you pay your credit card bill late, you will incur a charge. The charge is a percentage of the pending balance or standard figure. For instance, Standard Chartered Bank Kenya charges a late payment fee of Ksh 2,000 for their platinum credit card while Stanbic Bank charges Ksh 1000.

Foreign Transaction fees.

You will incur a foreign transaction fee of 1% to 3%. This is a fee you incur for purchases items outside Kenya.

Cash advance fees

If you withdraw cash from your credit card, you will incur a cash advance charge. Credit cards typically charge a cash advance fee of 4% to 6%.

‘Over the limit’ fees

Card issuers will charge you for exceeding the limit. Some credit cards will have a block when you reach your limit, while other cards charge a fee. The over-the-limit fee ranges from Ksh 1000 to Ksh 4,000.

Balance transfer fees

A balance transfer fee is charged when you transfer the balance from one credit account to another account.

Credit card replacement fees

Credit can get lost or damaged. Most credit card issuers will charge a fee to get you a new card.

Returned payment fees

The returned payment fee is incurred when you schedule a credit card payment without enough cash in your account. The amount you can be charged varies from one card issuer to another.

Credit Cards vs. Personal Loans

Both credit cards and personal loans offer the borrower a way to access credit. In both instances, the lender offers the borrower money at an interest rate. The two forms of credit offer the borrower a limited amount of money that can incur fees such as late payment fees.

Beyond the above similarities, credit cards and loans have major differences. Let us look at the main differences.

 Credit cardsPersonal loans
Lending modelCredit cards offer access to a specified amount on an ongoing basisThe borrower receives the money upfront
Monthly repaymentsVariable month repaymentsFixed monthly repayments
UseUsed for everyday expenses as long as the account is in good standingUsed for larger purchases
Access to cashCredit cards are revolving credit that gives the borrower access to cash as long as the account is in good standingPersonal loans are disbursed once.
Interest ratesThey have up to 50 days of interest-freeInterest is charged on the first month after disbursement
Rewards and cashbackYou earn rewards and receive cash back when you use your credit card.No rewards or cashback.

Credit Card vs. Debit Card

Credit and debit cards are similar. They have a 16-digit card number, an expiry date, and magnetic strips, and you can use both to make purchases. But they have some stark differences. Here are the main differences.

 Credit cardsDebit cards
Source of fundsYou borrow money from the card issuerYou spend money you deposit in your account.
InterestYou get the funds at an interestNo interest
Rewards and cash backsYou get rewards and cashback when you use the card.No reward or cashback
FeesYou will be charged fees such as annual fees, late payment fees, and over-the-limit feesNo fees are charged for using the card. You may have to pay to withdraw money from an ATM
Credit ratingIt will help you build credit if well managedIt does not help build your credit score
DebtIt’s a form of debt and increases your debt.It’s not debt
Fraud protectionIn case of theft, the cardholder suffers minimal liability as long as they report theThe cardholder suffers liability in the event fraud happens.

How to choose the best credit card

There are many credit cards available in Kenya. As such, it’s important to pick the right one. Here is what to look out for when choosing a credit card.

The purpose of the credit card

The purpose of the credit card will determine the kind of credit card you choose. For instance, if you want a card to pay for foreign purchases, make sure you pick one that charges a low foreign transaction fee. If you need a card for cash withdrawals, look out for one with low cash advance fees.

Fees and expenses

Choose a credit card that charges you lower fees. Look out for the annual fees, interest, and other card fees. Choose one that has lower fees.

Cashback and reward points

Rewards and cashback are given to those with good credit. You earn a reward every time you spend money. Review the rewards and cashback from the credit cards and choose the one with the best. This should not be the only consideration. Most credit cards have the following rewards:

  • Air miles
  • Cashback
  • Free travel insurance

How to Apply for a Credit Card

You can apply for a credit card online or visit the credit card issuer to apply. You can apply for a credit card online or visit the credit card issuer to apply. Before you apply for credit, you will need the following:

  • Kenyan ID or passport
  • KRA PIN
  • Document proving source of income
  • Bank statement
  • Duly filled credit card application form

After filling out the application form, you can submit your application by visiting the nearest branch or submitting your online application.

Should I Apply for a Credit Card?

Getting the first credit card is always a momentous occasion for most people. Having that credit card that you can use at any moment is usually a great adulthood moment. However, beyond that moment of excitement, is having a card credit a good idea?

The answer to that question depends on whether the card serves your needs and whether you are disciplined enough to manage it. When managed well, a credit card is one of the best forms of credit to help you improve your credit rating history. Before you sign up for a credit card, here are the pros and cons.

Advantages of having a credit card

Access to revolving credit that is interest-free for up to 60 days.

Most credit cards have an interest-free grace period. The period ranges from 50 to 60 days depending on the card issuer. If you need to borrow money for a short time, then you have access to interest-free funds.

Your credit card is a safety net for when you need short-term funds. You don’t have to withdraw your emergency funds every time you need to purchase an important item. Use your credit card.

Get rewards and cashback.

Most credit cards have rewards and cash-back schemes. You get a reward and cash back when you use your card in supermarkets, petrol stations, or many other stores. Some credit card issuers even offer free basic travel insurance.

Protection from fraud

When your credit card is fraudulently used, you are protected from such liability. Unlike with a debit card, where all the liability is on the card owner. Most credit cards have zero liability coverage for unauthorized purchases to encourage people to use their cards.

Convenience

A credit card is convenient as you don’t have to carry cash around. You have access to money without carrying it around.

Accepted worldwide

You can use your credit card to pay for things abroad.

Build your credit report

A good credit report gives you access to more credit facilities that you may require. Good management of a credit card gives you a positive credit rating.

Tips to Help You Manage Your Credit Cards

Credit cards are one of the best forms of borrowing if they are well-managed. They offer the holder a zero-cost or low-cost way to get funds. Here is how to manage your credit card like a pro.

Understand your billing cycle.

Your billing ends at the end of every month. It may be the 1st or 5th of every month. The credit issuer adds interest to your card at the end of the billing cycle. Make sure your balance is zero or low before the billing cycle ends.

Don’t exhaust your credit card balance in one go.

Don’t use all the credit card balances at once; instead, leave some for a rainy day. Also, avoid going over the limit, as you will incur over-the-limit fees.

Pay the amount you spend every month.

To avoid over-the-limit fees and lower the interest you pay on your card, pay the amounts you spend every month. If you are not able to pay the whole amount, make sure you pay more than the minimum.

Avoid taking cash out.

When you take out cash, you will incur cash advance fees. Taking out cash is an expensive way of using your card.

Avoid making late payments

If you pay your credit card late, you will incur late payment fees. In addition, this ruins your credit rating.

15 best credit cards in Kenya

Credit Cards in Kenya

Credit cards can be a great way to build credit, earn rewards, and get cash back or other perks. But with so many options out there, it can be hard to know which card is right for you. Our list of the best credit cards can help you narrow down your choices and find the perfect card for your needs. Whether you are looking for a card with low-interest rates, great rewards, or a 0% intro APR period, we’ve got you covered.

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