•Kenyans living and working abroad have been increasingly avoiding banks when wiring cash home in favour of less costly traditional money transfer methods.
•The growing trend has seen CBK post reducing numbers on the official figures of remittances by Kenyans living and working abroad
The Central Bank of Kenya is concerned over unregulated money transfer providers in the country.
In a statement CBK said that there are entities and persons providing money and value transfer services without the requisite license or authorisation.
Money or value transfer services include payment services regulated under the National Payment System Act, 2011 and money remittance services regulated under Money Remittance Regulations, 2013.
Kenyans living and working abroad have been increasingly avoiding banks when wiring cash home in favour of less costly traditional money transfer methods such as “hawala” amid money laundering concerns.
“This is to caution and/or warn members of the public against seeking money or value transfer services such as “hawala” from unlicensed service providers,” said CBK.
The growing trend has seen CBK record a decline on the official figures of remittances by Kenyans living and working abroad
The inflows reduced by Sh2 billion in September, despite easing inflationary pressure in key markets including the US.
CBK said such services do not enjoy the protection of the law and consumers stand to lose in case of any default by the providers of these services.
“Licensed entities operate as payment service providers or money remittance providers and they conspicuously display the CBK license or authorisation in their business premises, for ease of public reference,” the statement reads.
The World Bank had earlier warned that the high transaction charges on remittances risk fuelling the growth of informal channels.
The global lender said that it costs an average of $11.14 (Sh1, 685) to wire $199.90 (Sh30244) from the US to Kenya through banks.
CBK says it has a duty to identify entities and persons providing unlicensed or authorised money or value transfer services and to have them prosecuted in a court of law.
“Members of the public are hereby requested to submit to the CBK, information on the identities and physical locations of entities and persons providing money or value services without a license or authorisation from CBK,” said the regulator.