Uganda Banking Guide
Travel Banking Tips, and Financial Sector Business Opportunities

The Uganda Banking Guide is your best time saver when planning how you will keep and spend your money during your very first business trip to Africa.

Uganda Banking Guide

Your banking choices while traveling to Africa are much like those available to you domestically.

While most of the time you will use cash to make your payments, you also have most of the variety of Electronic Funds Transfer options (EFTs) to make your payments with intresting local modes like Mobile Money a.k.a M. Sente, M. Pesa and the like.

You will discover that your Credit Card payments might not be as flexible and will only be accepted at a specific class of hotels , fuel stations and some big retail stores.

If you're planning for a long business trip to Uganda though, that is...

  • You're a student on an exchange programme for over 6 months ,
  • You're planning to undertake a business research,
  • You've been appointed to fill a foreign Job vacancy for your local company or
  • You're planning an offshore expansion for your business to Uganda.

...Then you need to plan in advance how you will manage your accounts!

In this Uganda Banking Guide we give you some useful information to help you save on bank charges while attaining the flexibility you require to meet your personal and business payment obligations during your business trip to Uganda:

You will find information about:

Plan how you will make your Personal and Business Payments

You money transactions while in Uganda should become hassel free once you've gone through our notes.It can become very embarassing to enter a Uganda Korean restaurant with no cash at hand, make an order worth USD50,only to read a notice on the wall...Dear Customer, We do not accept Credit Cards Please. Sorry for the inconvinience. Management!...


As a Business Traveler,be sure to move with some cash at hand, at least USD100 and 200,000 Uganda shillings.

I have listed below some of the common means of payment used in Uganda for your review.

The order in which they appear should not really have much meaning, however, I use the first 3 almost daily, the next 2 at least once in a month and the rest of the options rarely.

Cash payments: You will use this options for most of your daily transuctions on the street, restaurant, coffee shop, and buying news papers

Mobile Money Transuctions: You will normaly use this payment option to purchase Uganda newspapers online, pay water bills, pay school fees while avoidng the long que in the Bank, pay a vendor for a bulk purchase, orpay someone in a remote Uganda district when you do not want to risk carrying cash.

ATM: Uganda now has a good network of these ATM machines in most of the important business towns which are also VISA electron Enabled and thus you can withdraw cash for your use locally. You can use this option to pay some utility bills and also buy airtime for your mobile phone.

Bank Check: Commonly used in business transaction including salaries when you do not want a lot of cash handling by your employees, also when you have cash flow related concerns and you have to issue post dated checks.

International Telegraphic Transfer TT: I normally use this options when making online purchases for equipment and some software. I have also instructed my clients from abroad to make my payments by TT as it goes directly onto my account.

Bank Draft

International Debit Card

International Prepaid Credit Card

Western Union: A way of sending money abroad. Google now uses this option to pay some of its clients to reduce clearing costs for Bank checks and also save on valuable business time.

Money Gram: Another way of sending money from abroad, it is a direct competitor with western union

Travellers Checks

Letters of Credit

Pay Pal: I've never used this option because Pay Pal does not work with local bank accounts in Uganda to make payments. You can however send money by pay pal to Uganda. Therefore, if you actively use Pay Pal to make your financial transuctions, be sure to retain your foreign account when you're planning your business accounts in Uganda.

Choosing the perfect Uganda bank for your Business

One of your most important question you will be face with is to decide whether you will keep your home Bank account or you will open a new bank account in Uganda.

In Uganda you could find a sister bank to your home bank where you can take out funds without fees.

The Africa Uganda Banking Guide advises that you should plan to keep two accounts, your home account and a Uganda bank account.

This would help you to take full advantage of services offered by the two Banks you're using, your Home Bank and a the Uganda Bank.

An example is that you could find out that it is harder for You to open and operate a credit card bank account based in Uganda and yet this is common place in the US and UK. Some online services like Pay Pal are not yet fully operational in Uganda and thus you might find yourselfunable to make certain online transuctions.

If you are not planning to stay in Uganda permanently, it is essential that you keep ties with your home bank.

It will help make a smooth transition to your new life abroad, before being able to open an account in Uganda.

You may also have to keep meeting some expenses back home like loans, payments, taxes, bills, and also collect income like wages and rent.

Don’t forget to list the revenues and expenditures that will continue to go through your home account.

You might need to set up the necessary automatic withdrawals and transfers before you leave for Uganda or use online banking.

Once you get to know your new address in Uganda, your bank can usually redirect your statements at no extra charge, or you can choose to view them online.

It may be important to consider whether you need to transfer money from your home country to Uganda on a regular basis.

While there many types of financial institutions in Uganda classfied as Tier 1 , 2 ,3 and Tier 4 , you will normally use a commercial bank which is classified among Tier 1 financial institutions for your basic Personl and Business Banking needs.

Uganda Commercial Banks

Uganda commercial banks are Classified as Tier 1 Financial Institutions.

In these Banks you will be able to hold checking, savings and time-deposit accounts for yourself and your Uganda Business in local as well as International currencies.

Commercial banks in Uganda are also authorized to buy and sell foreign exchange, issue letters of credit and make loans to depositors and non-depositors.

These Banks are supervised by the Central Bank of Uganda.

Below is the list of licensed Uganda commercial Banks you will choose from:

  • Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited: Probably the biggest with over 67 branches countrywide and commands market leadership with approximately 22 percent market share.
  • Standard Chartered Bank Uganda: Has about 10 branches and takes almost 16 percent of the Market share.
  • Barclays Bank Uganda: Has over 51 branches countrywide and commands an estimated 10 percent of the market share.
  • DFCU Bank: Has 27 branches
  • Centenary Bank Uganda: Intially a farmers bank with over 38 branches countrywide
  • Crane Bank: Has about 15 brances
  • Citibank Uganda: Only one branch
  • Bank of Baroda Uganda: Has 11 branhes
  • Orient Bank Uganda: Has 12 Branches
  • Housing Finance Bank: Has 15 Branches
  • Diamond Trust Bank: Has 18 Branches
  • Bank of Africa: Has 21 Branches
  • Tropical Bank: Has 9 Branches
  • Equity Bank: Quite new in the market but already has 54 branches countrywide
  • Kenya Commercial Bank: Has 15 Branches
  • United Bank for Africa: Has 9 Branches
  • Ecobank: Has 9 Branches
  • Fina Bank: Has 6 Branches
  • Global Trust Bank: Has 8 Branches
  • Cairo International Bank: Has just one branch on Kampala road on the Building formely owned by the now defunct Greenland Bank
  • National Bank of Commerce: Has just 2 branches
  • Imperial Bank Uganda: Relatively new in the Market with just one branch
  • ABC Capital Bank: Has just one branch

Uganda Credit and Finance Banks

The Uganda Credit and Finance Banks are classified under Tier II Financial Institutions. These Uganda Banks you will be able to make deposits and also establish savings accounts.These Banks are also authorized to make collateralized and non-collateralized loans to savings and non-savings customers.You will not be able to establish a checking account or buy foreign currency from Uganda Credit and Finance Banks. They are authorized to take in customer deposits and to establish savings accounts.

These Banks are supervised by the Central Bank of Uganda.

Below is the list of Uganda Credit and Finance Banks you will choose from:

  • Mercantile Credit Bank
  • Opportunity Bank Uganda - A 100% subsidiary of Opportunity International
  • PostBank Uganda

Uganda Microfinance Banks

Microfinance institutions are classified under Tier III Financial Institutions. In these Uganda Banks you will be able to keep a savings account where you can make deposits. Members of this class of institutions are also known as Microfinance Deposit-taking Institutions or MDIs. You will not be able to establish a checking account or buy foreign currency in a Uganda Microfinance Bank.

These Banks are supervised by the Central Bank of Uganda.

Below is the list of Uganda Microfinance institutions you could choose from:

  • FINCA Uganda Limited
  • Pride Microfinance Limited
  • Uganda Finance Trust Limited
  • UGAFODE Microfinance Limited

Tier IV Institutions

These institutions are not regulated by the Bank of Uganda. They are not authorized to take in deposits from the public. However, you can take a collateralized or non-collateralized loan these Tier IV Institutions. In 2008, it was estimated that there were over 1,000 such institutions in Uganda.

Development banks

  • East African Development Bank
  • Uganda Development Bank

Investment banks and stock brokers

This is the list of investment banks and stock brokerage firms in Uganda.They are regulated by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) and by the Uganda Securities Exchange.

  • African Alliance Investment Bank
  • Baroda Capital Markets Uganda Limited
  • Crane Financial Services Uganda Limited
  • Crested Stocks and Securities Limited
  • Dyer & Blair Investment Bank
  • Equity Stock Brokers Uganda Limited
  • First Renaissance Securities Limited
  • UAP Financial Services Limited
  • Stanbic Financial Services Limited

Follow this link for more info about Uganda Capital Markets.

Insurance companies

There are over 25 insurance companies in Uganda.

Follow this link for more info about Uganda insurance.

Foreign exchange bureaus

Here you will be able to buy and sell your forex. These are regulated by Bank of Uganda and include 123 licensed foreign exchange bureaus, of which 92 percent are located in Kampala, the capital city and only 8 percent are located outside of Kampala.

Follow this link for more information about Uganda Forex.

Selecting the right Bank account in Uganda

Just like Banks abroad, in most Uganda Banks you will find two basic options of Bank accounts to keep, the Savings Account, and the Current Account.

Each bank however tweeks these accounts for branding purposes and to meet specific client needs, therefore, after you have chosen an appropriete bank for your business ask your bank for the full range of bank accounts they offer so that you can make your choice, paying close attention to the underlying bank charges for each type of account.

Barclays Bank Uganda, forexample, has the following types of Bank Accounts:

Current Accounts

  • Single Bouquet Account
  • Bank Flexi Account
  • Student Flexi Account
  • Barclays Premier League Flexi Account
  • Business Bouquet Account
  • Business Flexi Account
  • Junior Eagle Account
  • Single Fee bank Account
  • Foreign Currency Account
  • Community Account

Savings Accounts

  • Instant Savings Account
  • Hight Rate Savings Account
  • Bonus Savings Account
  • Fixed term Deposit Account
  • Barclays Premier League Savings Account

Investing in the Uganda Banking Sector

If you're planning to start a Business in the Uganda financial sector, opportunities for investment exist for international multinational banking groupsparticularly promoting new or innovative financial products like Mortgage finance, venture capital, merchant banking and leasing finance. Business opportunities still exist for micro finance saving institutions, which propose to operate in rural areas. Insurance, in particular, is still a relatively young sector and with this subsector you have several opportunities for investment.

Follow this link for more information about starting a company in Uganda

Related Topics

Uganda Term Loans

Internet Banking in Uganda

Mortgage finance in Uganda

Corporate Finance in Uganda

Have A Question About Banking and Money Transactions in Uganda?

Do you have a question about Banking and Travel in Uganda? Ask the Uganda Banking Guide and other Business travelers who visit our website!

Ask any question about the best payment methods to use during your business trip to Uganda, the best bank for your business account and where to invest in the Uganda financial sector; You should thereafter expect an answer from an experienced banker in Uganda or a seasoned Uganda Business traveler.

You can also ask about Commercial Banking Products and services in Uganda and how to start a business in the Uganda Banking Industry or any other Uganda Banking related question for which you feel you need an answer before making your business trip to Africa.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Uganda Banking and Money Transactions

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East African Community Monetary Union Halted Not rated yet
1-March-2012 With all the debate and bailouts currently taking place in the Euro zone simply because of the operating single currency in the …

Bank of Uganda Deputy Governor Speaks out on Interest Rates and Kampala Traders Strike  Not rated yet
14-Jan-2012 Members of the Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) have closed their shops this week in protest against the higher interest rates …

Uganda Traders Strike over High Bank Interest Rates Not rated yet
12-Jan-2012 The Uganda shilling was little changed against the dollar on Wednesday and traders awaited the results of a Treasury bill auction and a …

Uganda Loan Applications Decline Not rated yet
12-Jan-2012 Uganda Loan applications have dropped to 17,558 at the end of November from 18,486 in October, the Uganda Central Bank indicated in a new …

Uganda World Bank Office Gets New Boss Not rated yet
12-Jan-2012 Ahmadou Moustapha Ndiaye is the World Bank country manager for Uganda. He replaces Kundhavi Kadiresan, who moves to Malawi, Zambia and …

Uganda Banking Sector Ends Year 2011 High Not rated yet
21st-Dec-2011 As the curtain drops on 2011, activity in the banking industry is clearly at levels much higher than at the begining of the year. Not …

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Roko Uganda wins DFCU Bank Contract for USD 10M project Not rated yet
Thursday, 22nd September, 2011 ROKO Construction Uganda has won the contract to build a new dfcu Bank headquarters in Kampala. According to …

Uganda Bankers join queue for petroleum skills Not rated yet
Wednesday, 17th August, 2011 The dfcu Bank and the UK-based leading financial training firm, EuroMoney, are hosting selected financial institutions …

Nigeria Takes Over Orient Bank Uganda  Not rated yet
Wednesday, 10th August, 2011 The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday nationalised Afribank Plc, Spring Bank Plc and Bank PHB Plc because the three …

Uganda Bank to write off sh450m Owino debt Not rated yet
Monday, 8th August, 2011 FINCA, a local microfinance institution, plans to write off over sh450m worth of loans advanced to clients, whose merchandise …

Uganda Banks raise loan interest rates Not rated yet
Saturday July 16, 2011 Most commercial banks in Uganda have raised their loan interest rates following Bank of Uganda’s decision to raise its lending …

Stanbic Bank Uganda to offer attractive Mortgages  Not rated yet
Friday July 15, 2011 Stanbic Bank Uganda has partnered with real estate agencies to enable more Ugandans build houses as the housing deficit soars with …

Uganda Housing Finance Bank secures sh25b from France Not rated yet
Friday July 15, 2011 France has given a long-term sh25b loan to the Housing Finance Bank for home and commercial mortgages and construction finance. …

Abu Dhabi investors take over Uganda National Bank of Commerce  Not rated yet
Friday July 15, 2011 The Bank of Uganda has approved Abu Dhabi investors as the majority shareholders in National Bank of Commerce (NBC). This comes …

World Bank to finance 30,000 small farmers in Africa Not rated yet
Thursday July 14, 2011 The World Bank has earmarked US$34m (about sh 85bn) to support over 30,000 small holder farmers involved in sustainable agricultural …

World Bank, Centenary Bank Uganda sign agric deal Not rated yet
Wednesday July 13, 2011 The World Bank, through the Agricultural Finance Support Facility, has earmarked $2.1m (about sh5b) to build Centenary Bank …

World Bank gives Uganda USD120m loan for power Not rated yet
Wednesday July 13, 2011 THE World Bank has agreed to give Uganda a $120m loan to upgrade the Kawanda-Masaka transmission line. This comes as support …

Ecobank unveils a USD30m office in Lome, TOGO West Africa Not rated yet
Tuesday July 12, 2011 ECOBANK Transnational Incorporated, the parent company of the Ecobank Group, has inaugurated a multi-million dollar corporate …

70 Bank of Uganda officers retire Not rated yet
Tuesday July 5, 2011 Over 70 top officers in the Bank of Uganda have retired under the Voluntary Retirement Scheme which was affected by the management …

World Bank approves sh130b Uganda budget support Not rated yet
Monday July 4, 2011 The World Bank on Thursday approved credit worth $50m (sh130b) to finance Uganda’s national budget. Chris Kassami, the finance …

Private Equity Firms Poised To Profit From The East Africa Regional Integration Not rated yet
Private equity firms are setting up shop in east Africa attracted by a growing young and urban population, but also by better political stability and sounder …

Banks, Investors Eyeing African bond issues Not rated yet
Monday 22nd November, 2010 An increasing number of African nations and state-owned firms are expected to tap international bond markets in the next …

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