How to Receive Money From the USA to Kenya [Through M-Pesa]

July 27th, 2023 by Felix Cheruiyot

Banana Pay money transfer service

There are many ways to receive money from your loved ones abroad, but did you know you can receive money from abroad directly into your M-Pesa? Learn how to receive money from USA to Kenya through M-Pesa with these 5 methods.

M-Pesa is the safest, most convenient way to receive money from abroad anywhere in Kenya. But what if the sender is thousands of kilometres away in Europe or the USA?

Yes, you can still use M-Pesa. Only this time, you need a third-party money transfer service that supports money transfers to Kenya through M-Pesa.

The good news for many Kenyans with relatives working in Europe and the USA is that there are several money transfer services that support direct money transfers from those countries directly into your M-Pesa mobile money wallet in Kenya.

Can you receive money from the USA through M-Pesa?

Yes. You can receive money in Kenya from the USA through M-Pesa. M-Pesa has partnered with several money transfer services that now allow users in the USA, the UK, and Europe to send money directly to their loved ones’ M-Pesa mobile money wallets.

M-Pesa is one of the largest mobile money wallets in the world. In Kenya, M-Pesa has over 30 million wallet holders, who use the service to store savings, send and receive money, pay for goods and services, and to access short term loans.

When you receive money from the USA through your M-Pesa mobile money wallet, you do not incur any service charges. The remitted funds will be converted into local currency using the prevailing rates.

Another great advantage of receiving money through the methods we will discuss below is that the money reflects in your M-Pesa account almost instantly. This is much faster than receiving your money through a wire transfer into your local bank account, which can take days to a week.

5 Ways to send money to Kenya from the USA through M-Pesa

1. WorldRemit.

how to receive money from the USA through M-Pesa with WorldRemit

WorldRemit is a UK-based online remittance service whose popularity on the continent has exploded in recent years, surpassing legacy money transfer providers like Western Union in many countries.

WorldRemit now has 5 million customers who trust it to send money to their friends and family worldwide. It allows you to receive money from your relatives and friends in the USA, UK, and Europe directly into your M-Pesa.

To receive money from abroad through the WorldRemit to M-Pesa service, the person who is sending you the money must first sign up with the remittance service. All they need for that is their email address and a strong password.

You receive the remitted funds into your M-Pesa mobile wallet the moment the transfer is approved. Besides M-Pesa, you can also receive the funds through bank transfer and cash pick-up. You can even receive an airtime topup from abroad through WorldRemit.

2. Remitly

How to recive money from the USA into your M-Pesa through Remitly

A US-based remittance platform, Remitly’s mission is to make money transfers faster, safer, affordable, and more transparent. Through the Remitly to M-Pesa service, you can receive up to USD2,999 within 24 hours.

The M-Pesa transaction limit is KES 150,000, which is roughly USD 1,250. Remitted funds will be converted to KES at the prevailing rates. For the person sending you money from the USA, Remitly is one of the cheapest ways to send money to Kenya that works with M-Pesa.

Remitly also allows remittances directly into your M-Pesa mobile money wallet from your friends and family countries like the UK, EU, and Australia. To send money through Remitly, the sender must sign up for a free account, choose their delivery provider (which, in this case, will be M-Pesa), enter your name and address, then their payment information.

3. Western Union.

Receive money from the USA into your M-Pesa in Kenya via Western Union

Western Union has lost some of its market share to newer remittance providers like WorldRemit and Remitly but it remains the largest and oldest money transfer operator on the globe. In Kenya, the money transfer giant now has M-Pesa as delivery method, which adds to its large network of physical locations.

Western Union to M-Pesa money transfers aren’t the cheapest for senders, but the fees are still quite competitive when compared against providers like WorldRemit. Despite the increasing competition, Western Union’s well-earned reputation and global brand make it the most popular ways to receive money from abroad in Kenya.

Western Union actually has a partnership with Safaricom, M-Pesa’s operator, that allows Kenyans to send money through Western Union directly from their M-Pesa mobile wallets. Available through M-Pesa Global, you can sign up for this service through the M-Pesa app or through USSD on your mobile phone.

4. MoneyGram

How to receive money in Kenya from abroad to your M-Pesa through MoneyGram (1)

After Western Union, MoneyGram is the second-largest money transfer service in the world. It has a long-established presence in Kenya, where it has several bank partners including KCB Bank, Equity Bank, and Co-Op Bank, and Equity Bank.

But undoubtedly the most convenient way to receive MoneyGram transfers from the USA and elsewhere abroad is through M-Pesa. You don’t need to do anything after your loved has sent you money; you will see the M-Pesa notification on your mobile phone within minutes of the transfer approval.

Senders love that the MoneyGram to M-Pesa remittance service has some of the lowest fees on the market. It also has no limits when sending to M-Pesa wallets, but M-Pesa itself has transaction limits you have to be aware of.

5. PayPal

PayPal Kenya

PayPal is not a remittance service like Western Union, WorldRemit, Remitly, and MoneyGram. It is a digital wallet provider that uses its global reach and brand power to extend money transfer services to its millions of customers.

Primarily a way to pay for goods and services online, PayPal now allows users in Kenya to send and receive from other PayPal users around the globe through

M-Pesa Global. You can receive and send money from abroad directly through your M-Pesa mobile wallet.

The PayPal M-Pesa service lets M-Pesa users fund their PayPal digital wallets from their M-Pesa balance, and vice versa. Besides a 3% currency conversion fee, Safaricom does not charge you any money to use the service. However, M-Pesa users must first sign up for a PayPal account and connect it to their M-Pesa before they can send or receive money through their mobile wallets.

6. Banana Pay

Banana Pay is a US-based money transfer service that offers Kenyan expats living in the USA a fast, easy, and secure way to send money home. Users can also send money to friends and relatives in other countries in East Africa, Asia, Europe, and other regions of the world.

Besides its competitive money transfer fees, Banana Pay is popular with users in Kenya for the multiple methods recipients can access remittances from abroad. You can receive your money through the following methods:

  1. Bank transfers, where the money is deposited in the recipient’s bank account in Kenya,
  2. Cash pickup, where recipients can pick up their money at locations in Kenya.
  3. Mobile money wallets. You can receive cash transfers from the USA directly to your M-Pesa mobile money wallet.

Banana Pay has a convenient mobile app that makes it a breeze to send money and track transfers. After signing up, sending money is as easy as selecting the amount you wish to send, choosing a delivery method, providing identification, entering your debit card, and hitting the send button.

How to receive a payment from the USA to Kenya

The options we discussed above work great for receiving remittances, which are sums of money received from someone working abroad. What if you want to receive payments from your clients in the USA and elsewhere abroad?

Payments are sums of money received for goods supplied or services offered. Legally, they are different from remittances. International payments in particular are subjected to strict rules and regulations, mainly as a way to prevent money laundering.

To lawfully receive payments from abroad, you must use a banking institution legally licensed for the purpose. This can be your bank or, more conveniently, a digital wallet service like IntaSend, PayPal, or Payoneer.

For freelancers and businesses in Kenya, IntaSend is the best way to receive business payments from abroad. We have the lowest fees, support multiple currencies, and let users generate and send invoices and no-code payment links from within their digital wallets.

Once your payments hit your IntaSend account, you can manage the funds from your digital wallet, including making scheduled and bulk payments to suppliers, integrating with your payroll system to easily fund workers, and generating reports at any time.

IntaSend supports withdrawals to M-Pesa and local banks. You can request virtual Visa or Mastercards debit cards from your digital wallets that you can use to pay for the digital subscriptions you need for your business or personal entertainment. Best of all, IntaSend users in Kenya enjoy 24-hr support by local customer service agents.

Sign up for IntaSend and enjoy a cheaper, more convenient way to make and receive international payments and to access a digital wallet that allows you to do more with your money.

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