The Kenyan shilling is the official currency of Kenya. Its sign is KSh while the code that represents it is KES.

While many people usually associate Kenyan shillings with the Ugandan and Tanzania shillings, we would like to set the record straight by saying that the Kenyan shilling is a different currency. They are not the same in any way.

To convert Kenyan Shillings to US Dollars is never a new thing. This is partly because the US Dollar is so widely accepted and is arguably the de facto unit for exchange.

But, there are also a huge number of native Kenyans who visit the United States every few weeks or months for business or family reasons who will need to convert their Kenyan Shillings into US Dollars.

Again, there is the other lot that includes tourists who will always find that they have to convert Kenyan Shillings to US Dollars or convert Kenyan Shillings to British Pounds as the case may be, whenever they are through with their trips within the country. Thus, how to convert Kenyan Shillings to US Dollars then becomes the question.

How Do You Convert Kenyan Shillings to US Dollars?

Exchange rates are largely determined by world trading and the financial market in general but differ slightly, depending on the financial institution involved.

Currently, most institutions quote the exchange figure in the range of Ksh 85 – 86 a dollar for either buying or selling. The two main factors that influence conversion rates from Kenyan Shillings to US Dollars are;

  1. Inflation – Rising inflation comes with increased interest and the value of the currency notably depreciates when converting from Kenyan shillings (KES). The ever-increasing inflation rates mean that you pay more and more KES for every US dollars provided the US currency continues exhibiting its lately acquired low inflation levels.
  2. CBK interest rates – The other factor that will directly influence how many dollars one receives is the prevailing interest rates charged by the CBK (Central Bank of Kenya). While the central banks in question will be looking to attract foreign investment by raising the interest rates, the exchange rates go up too. In simple terms, the higher the interest rates of the Central Bank of Kenya, the higher the exchange rate and the lower the interest rates, the lower the exchange rates.

Other influential factors include the country’s (in this case Kenya) economic and political performances. Seasons of political instability like during and shortly after the 2007/2008 chaos drive exchange rates up. The country’s debt and its position in world trade will also play a part. Both of these are long-term factors though.

Institutions that deal in currency conversions are many both online and down the street. One can try any of the following;

1. Registered Banks and their various outlets spread all over the country.

2. Other registered banking institutions which offer exchange services.

3. ATM machines – Select ATM’s offer currency conversion services. Though these are only likely to be situated in strategic locations, they will do the job if you can come by one.

4. Other institutions such as top restaurants and hotels will also offer such services.

A few things to observe include;

  • Identity cards, travel passports and permits could be useful.
  • A few banks and currency exchange institutions close down at night. Therefore, it becomes rather convenient if one can complete his/her transactions during business hours.
  • For security purposes, try to convert only at vetted exchange points.
  • Keep your exchange documents safe. They could be useful when you have to convert back to KES.

You can convert Kenyan Shillings to US Dollars via any of the following websites:

Fast Facts About Kenyan Shillings

  1. The East African Shillings at par was replaced by the Kenyan Shillings in 1966.
  2. The first coins issued in 1966 were in dominations of 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, and 50 cents and 1 and 2 shillings. They were minted by the Royal Mint of U.K.
  3. The portrait of Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, featured on the front of the currency between 1967 and 1978.
  4. The Central Bank of Kenya, in 2005, re-introduced new coins with the image of Kenyatta.
  5. Sometime in 2003, a bi-metallic 40-shilling coin with the portrait of then-President Mwai Kibaki was introduced to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of Kenya’s independence.
  6. The Kenyan shilling is also known by its Swahili name, shilingi.