Debit Card in Kenya

Old May 3rd, 2019, 04:24 PM
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Debit Card in Kenya

Are Debit Cards accepted readily through out Kenya?
Especially at Lodges etc
Thanks in advance.
sallysaab is offline  
Old May 5th, 2019, 05:41 AM
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I don’t know, but would never use a debit card except for ATM withdrawals. If you are a victim of card fraud your checking account could be drained. Use a credit card for ordinary transactions.
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Old May 5th, 2019, 11:27 AM
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I agree with Heimdall, but I’d add that that’s my practice anywhere outside the US, not just in Kenya.
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Old May 6th, 2019, 06:13 AM
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If they carry either a Mastercard or Visa logo, then they'll be accepted just like a credit card, but as everyone points out, it's particularly unwise to use a debit card when traveling abroad.
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Old May 6th, 2019, 02:17 PM
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I never (ever) use a debit card overseas except to get cash from and ATM/cashpoint. I would think that would be doubly true in Kenya. Do you have a credit card(s)
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Old Jul 14th, 2020, 03:17 AM
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Caution about using credit/debit cards in Kenya

As a frequent traveler to Kenya (30 times in 19 years) I would encourage everyone to use caution with credit and debit cards in Kenya. On my first couple of safaris I pre-paid my safari but took travelers checks for incidentals. No-one in Kenya recognizes travelers checks - even in 2 banks they told me they couldn't accept one because I did not have an account there - the manager finally told the teller that they were the same as cash but it took an hour to straighten it out. Manager wanted to know what I needed $400 for (a fortune to a Kenyan - about 42,000 Kenya shillings) and I simply told him to pay my safari camp.

I have had 2 incidences of credit card theft though my card left my hand for only one minute for a legitimate purchase. People must have either photo'd the card and signature on the back or written down the numbers and info. When I got home I had a call from the credit card company asking about a charge of $4,500 on one card for airline flights to countries in which I have never traveled. On another incident someone charged $2,500 to my credit card illegally. Both those charges were made in Kenya - but not by me.

What I have done since is prepaid for my safari by credit card HERE IN THE US or have bank transfer money to safari company. I also pay for my round trip airfare by credit card here in the US. Then I have tried to figure our approximately how much cash I need for tips and souvenirs and go to the bank in US and get the cash and take it with me.

I have used credit cards here in the US since around 1970 with never a problem. After the 2 incidences of theft from my card made in Kenya, it made me leery of using any credit/debit card while there.

Last edited by JanGoss; Jul 14th, 2020 at 03:28 AM.
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Old Jul 17th, 2020, 01:20 AM
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This thread is over a year old now, but my views of debit card use haven’t changed. In fact, with card fraud occurring everywhere in the world today, not just Africa, it seems more important than ever to protect your checking/current account. I avoid using ATMs as much as I can, and use contactless or Apple Pay with my credit cards.

As for credit cards, the best advice is to never let the card out of your sight, even for a minute. If a waiter takes your card at the table and doesn’t have a portable POS, walk with them to the POS terminal to watch the transaction. That’s the advice my friends and relatives in South Africa have given me.

Apparently the most common form of card skimming is by the clerk who takes your card. I found this paragraph in a website through a Google search:
The clerk skim is the most common is when a store clerk takes your card and runs it through a device that copies the information from the magnetic strip. Once the thief has the credit or debit card data, he or she can place orders over the phone or online or create a cloned card.”

Here is the URL for that reference:
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