Best Ways To Send Money From the US to M-Pesa in Kenya
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If you're from Kenya or your friends or family live there, you'll probably be familiar with M-Pesa. Not only is it a smart way to send and receive money, make payments, and even get loans in Kenya, but seeing that everything happens directly on the mobile phone, it's probably also the most user-friendly way too!
When sending money from the US to Kenya, exchanging dollars for shillings can be tricky and expensive. If you're in the US and you'd like your recipient in Kenya to receive money onto their M-Pesa account, then you'll need a third-party service. Services like Remitly or Western Union enable you to send money from the US toM-Pesa in Kenya quickly and easily! Find the cheapest and fastest service using Monito's live comparison engine below 👇
Find the best way to send money from the US to M-Pesa in Kenya:
Best Ways to Send Money From the US to M-Pesa in Kenya
Option 1: Remitly
Without a doubt, the best way to send money from the US to M-Pesa in Kenya is to choose an online money transfer provider that supports M-Pesa payouts in Kenya. In general, many excellent providers are offering this service, including WorldRemit, Remitly, Skrill, and others, but depending on your exact transfer, not all providers might be available.
To get started, you must sign up on one of these platforms (the process usually is 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 dollars to their M-Pesa account in shillings at excellent exchange rates. (What's more, the money will typically arrive in Kenya in only a few minutes!)
Thankfully, there are ten options to send money to a mobile wallet in Kenya from the US: Remitly, Wise, Small World, WorldRemit, Halo Financial, XE, Xoom, Western Union, Paysend, and Instarem. And according to tens of thousands of searches on Monito's comparison engine in 2022, of these ten, the best platform in this category for M-Pesa payouts in Kenya for transfers from the US is Remitly.
Remitly offers low fees, excellent exchange rates, and super-quick transfer speeds for sending money the US to M-Pesa in Kenya. With Remitly, your transfer will arrive in Kenya in minutes and save you a lot of money compared to the bank or Western Union.
Generally, Remitly will cost around 2.5% if you sent 100 dollars from the US to Kenya (keep in mind that this percentage cost goes down the more money that you send). Because of these relatively low fees and exchange rates, we recommend Remitly for all users looking to save money when sending to M-Pesa in Kenya.
Keep in mind that with Remitly, you can only send up to $2,999 within 24 hours and $10,000 within 30 days when sending to somebody's M-Pesa account in Kenya.
Option 2: Legacy Providers
In addition to Remitly and the other savvy online providers we learned about above, using a traditional transfer operator such as Western Union or MoneyGram is another alternative to sending money from the US to a M-Pesa account in Kenya.
Although legacy platforms are usually more expensive than online-only platforms, they usually still offer decent exchange rates, and which is ultimately cheaper depends on precisely how much money you're sending. That's why we recommend you compare money transfer providers before every new money transfer you send to Kenya.
Let's go over the leading platforms in this category:
- Western Union: Western Union is the world's largest and oldest money transfer operator. It offers money transfers to M-Pesa in Kenya from dozens of countries across the globe, including from the US. See our full Western Union review or visit their website to learn more.
- MoneyGram: After Western Union, MoneyGram is the world's second-largest money transfer operator and offers money transfers from the US to M-Pesa in Kenya. See our full MoneyGram review or visit their website to learn more.
- Small World: Often the cheapest of the legacy operators for transfers to Kenya, Small World is another well-known alternative for sending money. It supports transfers from the US to M-Pesa and other mobile wallets. Small World is usually one of the cheapest ways of sending money to M-Pesa in Kenya from the US and is sometimes even as cheap as Remitly! See our full Small World review or visit their website to learn more.
Option 3: Banks
If you live in the US 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 locally.
While it can make sense if you maintain a bank account in Kenya which offers this service (and you 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 an online 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 a loved one's M-Pesa account in Kenya:
FAQ About Sending Money to M-Pesa
📲 How do I send money to M-Pesa in Kenya?
Follow these simple steps with your chosen money transfer service:
- Choose Kenya as your destination country;
- Choose M-Pesa as your mobile wallet destination;
- Fill in the beneficiary's info. It must match their M-Pesa-registered name;
- Enter a payment PIN or verification code to finish the transaction.
🌍 Can M-Pesa be used internationally?
Yes, you can download and register for a M-Pesa account while abroad as long as you have an active mobile number from Kenya. If you are currently overseas, make sure your mobile phone has activated Roaming. Your mobile provider will likely charge you extra for Roaming services.
🧭 Does M-Pesa work in the US?
Yes, M-Pesa does work in the US as long as you have an active mobile number from Kenya. If you're overseas, we recommend making sure your mobile phone has roaming activated. Remember that your mobile provider will likely charge you extra for roaming services.
💸 Is M-Pesa only for Kenya?
Yes, M-Pesa is only available in Kenya. If you'd like to send money from a country overseas, like the US, to M-Pesa, then you'll have to use a third-party money transfer provider. Use Monito's real-time comparison engine to find the best deal when sending to M-Pesa in Kenya!
Sending Money to Other Mobile Wallets?
Below, you'll find all our guides helping you to send money to various mobile wallets between different countries worldwide:
Other Money Transfer Guides
Why Trust Monito?
You’re probably all too familiar with the often outrageous cost of sending money abroad. After facing this frustration themselves back in 2013, co-founders François, Laurent, and Pascal launched a real-time comparison engine to compare the best money transfer services across the globe. Today, Monito’s award-winning comparisons, reviews, and guides are trusted by around 8 million people each year and our recommendations are backed by millions of pricing data points and dozens of expert tests — all allowing you to make the savviest decisions with confidence.
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