Equity Bank introduces mandatory fee for SMS alerts

By Elijah Odhiambo

Equity Bank customers will now be charged for any SMS alerts they receive from the bank.

The lender is set to earn hundreds of millions of shillings from the introduction of a transaction confirmation alert fee of Ksh2.26.

According to the lender’s social media posts, this development was implemented on April 24, 2023.

“We have introduced a standard SMS charge of Ksh2.26, effective 24th April. The charge applies to mobile and online transaction confirmation alerts,” posted Equity on Twitter.

Customers are already upset about the additional cost, which could total a sizable sum given that mobile and online banking are widely used in the nation.

When users install the now-charged Equity Mobile app, they are given one-time passwords. Any purchase completed through their app is typically accompanied by an SMS notification.

The customers stand to lose a lot of money under this development, because at one point, one needs to check the status of their account.

It would also mean that these customers cannot know about the status of their accounts if they choose to deactivate those alerts. This means, there is no way to deactivate the alerts at the moment, implying that Equity is compelling customers to cover these fees, whether they like it or not.

The new fee is set to boost the lender’s non-interest income, coming after the bank introduced an annual debit card fee of Ksh240 in 2021.

The card fee stands to earn the bank upwards of Ksh2 billion per year, assuming most of the issued cards are active.

Equity saw its total non-interest income in Kenya grow to Ksh27.5 billion in the year ended December, up from Ksh22.8 billion a year earlier.

This included fees and commissions –not related to loans— which jumped to Ksh7.5 billion from Ksh6.7 billion.

Other banks charging customers to receive message alerts include Co-operative Bank of Kenya (Ksh42) and Absa Bank Kenya (Ksh5).

Commercial banks re-introduced charges at the start of the year for bank-to-mobile transactions, a move expected to boost earnings.

The CBK temporarily stopped the charges to lower the risk of Covid-19 infections by encouraging cashless transactions.


  1. Why make the sms fee mandatory….. You guys are so inhuman….. You are also charging for transfer from joint to personal account


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