Over the years, while learning about Digital Marketing and trying to grow my business online, I was forced to learn about Money apps not only in Uganda but also International money transfer apps like ChipperCash which we looked at in the last post, Stripe, Skrill, PayPal, among others.
This came in handy when it came to running my first Shopify online shop and those for my clients especially in making online payments to suppliers in China, the UK, the USA, and around the World. Also to process ecommerce store orders. Now apps like ChipperCash, PayPal, or Skrill provide almost all the products and services provided by the Banks, but Banks still provide some benefits that you may not find with Apps like Coinbase or Binance.
Banking is an essential part of life in today’s world. It allows us to store our money safely, make payments, and access credit. If you are living in Uganda, and are considering doing business online whether you want to buy or sell online, or just receive your salary easily, it is important to have a bank account and a debit or credit card.
In this article, we will look at some of the Top Banks in Uganda with the Best Online and Mobile Banking experience. We will take a look at the 10 Best Banks in Uganda and Why You Need a Bank Account and a Debit or Credit Card. We will also talk about some of the products and services offered by these Banks.
Why you need a bank account
A bank account is a safe place to store your money. It is also a convenient way to make payments, such as rent, utilities, and groceries. You can also use your bank account to transfer money internationally or locally to other people or simply withdraw cash from ATMs.
Here are some of the benefits of having a bank account:
Security: Your money is protected by the bank’s security measures. In Uganda, Banks are regulated by the Central Bank of Uganda, and Customer deposits are protected by the Deposits Protection Fund of Uganda up to UGX 10 million.
Convenience with Mobile Banking: You can make payments and transfers online or through a mobile app. Internet banking helps you make transactions on your account from the comfort of your home or office using your internet-enabled devices like a mobile phone.
Flexibility: You can choose the type of account that best meets your needs. From current to Savings accounts, corporate accounts, & more.
Access to credit: With specific account types, like an Investment account, you can apply for a loan or credit card if you need to borrow money.
Of course, these days there are several instant loan apps like Mangu cash, Numida — Business loans, Mara — Instant loans online, and many more that have been popping up even before the Corvid era, they offer loans based on your Mobile money account balance and history. But with huge interest rates.
Why you need a Debit or Credit card
A debit card is a convenient way to make purchases online. When you use your debit card, the money is deducted directly from your bank account. But in some instances, a credit card might be a more convenient way to make purchases, it allows you to borrow money from the credit card company. You will need to pay back the borrowed money with interest.
Here are some of the benefits of having a debit or credit card:
Shop Anywhere, Anytime— You can use your debit or credit card to make purchases in stores, online, and over the phone.
Security — Your card is protected by a chip and PIN number or face.
Rewards — Many debit and credit cards offer rewards programs, such as cash back or points that can be redeemed for travel or merchandise.
Building credit — If you use your credit card responsibly and pay your bills on time, you can build a good credit history. This can help you get approved for loans and other forms of credit in the future.
Receive Payments Online — If you work online either selling your knowledge, products, or selling services on marketplaces like Fiverr, Upwork, among others, you must have a Stripe account for example. Unless you are paid in Crypto.
Advertise Online — If you run ads on Meta (Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp ads), or Google (YouTube Video ads, Display and Search ads), and Twitter ads, you know you are required to have a Credit/Debit Card to use for (adspend) payments. Even on Jiji Online marketplace and Jumia Online Shopping mall for paying for promotions.
Tip: By the way, if you are interested in Cryptocurrency, in our last post we explored what is cryptocurrency, what are crypto wallets, what are cryptocurrency exchanges, and everything else you need to know about crypto.
How to choose the best bank for you
When choosing a bank, it is important to compare the features and benefits of each bank. You should also consider your individual needs and preferences, such as the type of banking products and services you need, the location of branches, and the level of customer service you expect. In my case, I was mostly looking for a Bank with convenient Internet Banking or Mobile Banking experience when I found SCB.
Here are some of the factors to consider when choosing a bank:
Products and services — Make sure the bank offers the products and services that you need, such as savings accounts, checking accounts, Business Capital and Asset Financing, loans, and credit cards.
Fees — Compare the fees charged by different banks, such as account opening fees, monthly maintenance fees, and ATM withdrawal fees.
Customer service — Get feedback from other customers about the bank’s customer service.
Security — Make sure the bank has a good security system in place to protect your money.
Promotional offers — Look for banks that are currently offering promotional offers, such as free ATM withdrawals, Free monthly charges, or discounted airtime bundles.
Tip: In my case, Standard Chartered Bank offers Free Debit Cards delivered straight to your home for an account Opening amount of Only UGX 20,000.
This all sounds great. Not until you want to withdraw your money to use in local currency. For example, let’s say you work on Upwork, and you receive a payment that you want to use right away, what do you do?
That is where Online Banking comes in handy. With Online Banking mobile apps, your money is just a tap away. Whether you want to pay for Groceries, an online course from your favorite author, or your TV Subscription, you don’t have to line up tomorrow in the Bank Branch.
By the way, did you know that Mobile Banking offers lower fees compared to ATM withdrawals?
10 Best Banks in Uganda with the Best Online Banking Experience
In this List of International Banks in Uganda, we will discuss the Best international banks in Uganda that operate in different regions in Africa. We will look at the Best Banks for a savings account in Uganda as well as the ones with the Best online and mobile banking experience.
1. Standard Chartered Bank — Here for good
Standard Chartered Bank Uganda Limited is an international Bank that prides itself on more than 100 years of existence in the Ugandan market and is the longest established Commercial Bank in Uganda. It is regulated by the Bank of Uganda just like other registered Banks in Uganda.
And unlike digital currencies which are not regulated and therefore not safe to trade in Uganda and still illegal in most countries across Africa, Customer deposits in SCB are protected by the Deposit Protection Fund up to UGX 10 million.
Standard Chartered Bank Uganda was also the first bank to introduce 7 Days Banking at their Garden City branch. SCB services are focused on two segments, Commercial Banking in both corporate and Institutional Banking as well as Private and Business Banking.
Standard Chartered Bank Main Products
Current Accounts — which include my favorite the Digital Life account (more on that later), Ordinary account, Diplomatic account, Smart Banking Gold bank.
Savings Accounts — These include the Safari savings account and the Safari Junior Savings account.
Fixed Deposits — The Fixed Deposit account allows you to enjoy guaranteed high returns on your savings, with an initial deposit of UGX 10 million.
Digital Life Current Account (Enjoy Zero Monthly Service Fees & Get a Free Debit Card)
My favorite Standard Chartered Bank Uganda account type is the Digital Life current account. The Digital Life account is a current account specially designed for Digital Banking also known as Online Banking or Mobile Banking. No minimum balance is required for this account, In fact, you can open this account up for totally free and your Debit card will be delivered at your home, No Monthly Ledger, ATM Withdrawal or Card fees.
To open a Digital Life current account, you can use your Mobile phone and follow the same Standard Chartered Bank Uganda Account opening requirements as the other account types. Again, No Digital Life Acocunt minimum balance and you can set your own withdrawal limit.
In fact, Standard Chartered Bank is considered among the Top 10 banks in Uganda for customer satisfaction.
Benefits of the Digital Life Current Account
Bank To Wallet And Wallet To Bank Transfers made Easy
Move funds from your Account to any registered MTN or Airtel Mobile Wallet or from your mobile wallet to your SC Bank account.
Enjoy Over 70 Online Banking Service Requests
With the Standard Chartered Bank Digital Life account, you get to enjoy over 70 Online Banking Service Requests like paying bills, activating your Television Subscriptions, and blocking or replacing your debit card online without having to go to a branch.
Free Local Visa ATM Acces
If you own a debit card, you know there are charges involved whenever you make a withdrawal. Not with a Digital Life account.
24/7 access to your funds
Get 24/7 access to your funds through online and mobile banking. Online Banking means you have access to a wide range of banking services and features on your smartphone. No need to line up at the Bank.
Mobile Banking App:
The SC Mobile app is the most important part of the whole Digital Life account. It extends these services to your mobile device, providing you with the flexibility to handle your banking needs wherever you are as long as you are connected to the internet.
2. UBA (United Bank for Africa)
United Bank for Africa (UBA) has more than 70 years of providing uninterrupted banking operations. UBA Uganda is led by a Board comprising a Chairperson, independent Non-Executive Directors, and Executive Directors.
UBA Bank Uganda is a subsidiary of United Bank for Africa, one of the largest banking groups in Africa. UBA Bank Uganda offers a wide range of banking products and services, including online banking, mobile banking, and investment banking.
The bank’s online banking platform is secure and reliable, and it allows you to do your banking transactions quickly and easily. UBA Bank Uganda also offers a number of promotional offers, such as discounts on utility bills and airtime bundles. Offers are available in-app.
United Bank for Africa Uganda Banking Products & Services
Constantly developing new products and services to help make your banking life easier, UBA creates accounts tailored to your individual needs. Below are some of the services available under UBA personal banking.
Money Transfers — Securely transfer money to anyone across the world with UBA Uganda’s wide range of money transfer options.
Banking Cards — UBA provides different types of cards like Debit cards, Prepaid Cards, and UBA Naira Credit cards, among others.
Foreign Exchange (Fx Mart) — Besides money transfers, Banking cards, loans and payments, UBA engages in electronic payments, foreign exchange, and travel-related businesses. FX Mart serves customers across where these services are offered.
Merchant Services — For those in the e-commerce industry, or just getting started with online shopping, POS terminals play a key role in the actualization of the cashless banking objectives.
SME UBA Banking
United Bank for Africa in this program supports small businesses to thrive through support, advisory, loans, and advancements, among other incentives.
Chatbot Banking with Leo
Chat with Leo, I think is the most popular and interesting under the Chat Banking option. Besides the United Bank for Africa Customer care number, the UBA Leo contact is the most asked question when it comes to digital banking with UBA.
Online banking is made easy with Leo — UBA Bank Uganda’s online banking paltforms help you to view your account balances, make transfers, pay bills, and more. You can also apply for loans and credit cards online, top-up airtime, buy data, make enquiries, block cards, get football highlights, book a flight, and more. Leo makes it even easier to access these products and services.
Easy Customer Care
At any time when you feel like you need help, simply send an email to email@example.com for assistance. But with Leo, you won’t even need the UBA customer care WhatsApp number. Even UBA customers agree that LEO is one of the bank’s biggest investments in cutting-edge technology.
3. Absa Bank Uganda (formerly Barclays Bank)
Formerly part of the Barclays Group, Absa Bank Uganda has retained its reputation for excellence in banking services. The bank’s online offerings demonstrate its dedication to modern banking solutions and customer satisfaction.
Absa Bank is committed to finding local solutions to uniquely local challenges and everything is focused on adding value. Offering clients a range of retail, business, corporate investment, and wealth management solutions. Also, Absa Bank has ensured a positive impact in more than 12 countries where they serve across the continent.
Absa Bank Uganda offers services to all sectors, whether you are looking to open a Personal account or use Absa for your SME and Business Loans.
Absa Bank Uganda Products & Services
App, Online Banking — Use Absa’s mobile banking app, Abby, NovoFX, and other digital platforms or Absa Bank Internet Banking applications to manage your accounts, send cash locally or internationally, pay utility bills, and more. Absa’s online banking platform empowers customers to take control of their finances.
Personal Banking — Absa offers Medical Insurance, Family protection funeral cover, Life plans, Credit life insurance, Car insurance, and Education policy among other services.
Business Banking — Absa offers help to startups as well-established businesses, from Business installment loans to market solutions in Foreign exchange, Risk management solutions, Liquid asset management, and other e-commerce integrated solutions.
Corporate and Investment Banking — For eCommerce businesses and local stores, like Hotels, Restaurants, and Supermarkets, No more hassling with cash handling. Absa Bank Uganda also offers electronic POS terminals, you can use them to accept debit and credit card payments from your customers at checkout points.
4. DFCU Bank (Development Finance Company of Uganda Bank Limited)
DFCU Bank in Uganda offers a different touch to your banking experience served to you from 60 branches countrywide. Over the years DFCU Bank has been helping Ugandans achieve more in the areas of agribusiness, communication, education, health, manufacturing, tourism, mining, real estate construction, trade & commerce, and transport.
It came into existence in May 2000 following DFCU’s acquisition of Gold Trust Bank to extend universal banking services alongside the pre-existing equity finance. DFCU Limited was started by the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) of the United Kingdom and the Government of Uganda through the Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) under the name of Development Finance Company of Uganda Limited.
DFCU Bank — (Making More Possible) Products and Services
Development Finance Company of Uganda Bank Limited offers similar Banking as we have seen, for example, Personal Banking, Business Banking, Corporate Banking, and Global Finance markets along with various promotions like the Win School Fees in the Back2School Fees & Smiles, School loans (School bridge financing solutions) with DFCU School overdraft, Insurance services, DFCU Assets Finance, not to mention an online banking app, among others. Refer to the DFCU Group website for more information.
5. Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited
Standard Bank Group is Africa’s largest bank, committed to using high expertise, data insights, a 160-year track record of operational excellence, and a deep understanding of Africa’s markets and people to drive sustainable and inclusive economic growth across the continent while implementing the 2025 ambition of transforming the business to meet the evolving needs of clients.
Stanbic Bank Uganda is the largest bank in Uganda with over 170 branches nationwide. It offers a wide range of banking products and services, including online banking, mobile banking, loans, and ATMs.
Stanbic Bank’s online banking platform is user-friendly and allows you to do your banking transactions from anywhere in the world. Stanbic’s online banking services are a testament to its modern approach, offering customers a seamless way to manage their finances remotely. The bank also offers a number of promotional offers, such as free ATM withdrawals and discounted airtime bundles available via the Stanbic Bank Uganda app.
Stanbic Bank Services and Products
Online Banking Services: Stanbic Bank’s online banking platform empowers customers to conduct a wide range of financial activities, from fund transfers to bill payments, all accessible at their fingertips.
Mobile Banking App: The Stanbic Bank Uganda mobile Banking app extends the bank’s offerings to mobile devices, allowing users to effortlessly track transactions, monitor account balances, and access various banking features.
The Standard Bank app from both the Apple Store and Google Play Store gives you full visibility of your accounts and total control over your money. It’s secure, simple and fast! Simple day-to-day banking.
Savings Account Process: Aspiring savers can initiate the account opening process by visiting a nearby Stanbic Bank branch, equipped with valid identification and an initial deposit. Open an account online with a few simple steps. All you need is your valid identification document as already mentioned, a passport photo or selfie, and a photo of your signature and you are set.
Tip: You can start by opening the Stanbic IBTC BluEdge Savings account with zero opening balance.
6. Bank of Africa (BMCE Group)
Bank of Africa Uganda Limited, also known as BOA Uganda, is one of the commercial banks in Uganda that have been licensed by the Bank of Uganda, the Uganda central bank and national banking regulator. Since 1985, BOA has been partnering with people to support their aspirations and help them achieve their goals. BANK OF AFRICA in Uganda is a subsidiary of one of the
world’s leading international banks — BMCE BANK OF AFRICA Group. The BOA Group network of 18 commercial banks, 1 global holding company, 2 technical support subsidiaries, 1 representative office in Addis Ababa.
Bank of Africa Countries
BANK OF AFRICA Group (BOA Group) is present in 19 countries, including 8 in West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Togo and Senegal), 8 in East Africa and the Indian Ocean zone (Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania), 2 in central Africa (Africa the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo) and France.
Bank of Africa Products & Services
Bank of Africa Uganda online Banking — Create a BOA Savings (Gold Savings, Ambition Savings Plan) or current account to get started and access Loans (Home improvement, Vehicle Loans, corporate salary loans), and more.
Digital Banking & Transfers — Complete your Local payments (Pay utility bills and Mobile Money-MTN & Airtel), International payments (use WorldRemit, Moneygram, Western Union), and all your digital banking (Mobile banking, Cards, SchoolPay, Agent Banking).
Embassy/NGO accounts & Business Finance — Flexible, multi-currency accounts for NGOs and Embassies. Commercial property finance, treasury management, and insurance services.
BOA Corporate Banking Sectors — The Bank of Africa Corporate banking products and services extend to Real Estate Banking, Trade and commerce, Education, Manufacturing, Government, and public sectors, among others.
Financing — BOA provides financing for Working Capital, Business expansion, Asset Finance, Commercial Property, and Insurance premium finance.
Among the top 10 banks in Uganda, I feel like BOA has some of the most organized websites as it is super easy to navigate and find the Bank of Africa Uganda WhatsApp number and other contact information in case you need it. Their website also clearly outlines the process and requirements for opening the account type of your choice.
7. Centenary Rural Development Bank
Uganda’s leading Commercial Microfinance Bank serving over 2.4 million customers, with an asset base of UGX 5.5 trillion, over 80 branches, 205 ATMs, over 5,800 Agents, and several other digital channels including CenteMobile banking, CenteOnline banking, CenteVisa debit & prepaid cards, and Mastercard Platinum debit card.
Centenary Bank Uganda was established on a strong Catholic Church foundation and this is reflected in their ownership. The shareholders are across both institutional and individual owners as seen with the 19 Catholic Dioceses, which are all independent legal personalities incorporated as Registered Trusteeships: Arua, Fort Portal, Gulu, Hoima, Jinja, Kabale, Kasana-Luwero, Lugazi, Kampala, Kasese, Kotido, Lira, Masaka, Mbarara, Mityana, Moroto, Nebbi, Soroti, and Tororo.
Types of Account in Centenary Bank Uganda
Centenary Bank has 2 main account types;
1. Personal and SME or 2. Corporate Bank accounts. In both, there are several other account types within. For example under Personal Banking, you will find Savings account, Current account, and Investment accounts, Housing, Energy, and Agricultural Loans. Under SME or Corporate type, you will find SME Corporate and Group Accounts and Corporate Loans.
Centenary Bank Online Account Opening
Open an Account ku suupiiiidii with Cente Mobile App
Centenary Bank has earned a reputation for its accessibility and financial inclusion efforts. Through its robust online banking services, the bank ensures that its diverse clientele can conveniently manage their accounts and conduct transactions.
To open your account ku suupiidii, Download the CenteMobile App and choose CenteOntheGo, Follow the instructions to enter the required information including your NIN (National Identification Number), Selfie, valid phone number, and email to receive a Verification code.
The other way to open a savings account with Centenary Bank, is by visiting a branch, equipped with proper identification documents.
Centenary Bank Uganda Mobile Banking App: The CenteMobile app brings banking to the palm of your hand, offering an intuitive interface for users to access their accounts and perform financial tasks on their smartphones.
Online Banking Services: Centenary Bank’s online banking platform empowers customers with secure access to their accounts, enabling transfers, utility payments, and more.
Other Centenary Bank products and services include Trade Finance, Bancassurance, Internet Banking, Agent Banking, and Mobile Banking, among others.
8. Equity Bank — Transforming Banking in Uganda
Equity Bank Uganda Limited is a commercial bank in Uganda. It is licensed by the Bank of Uganda, the central bank and national banking regulator. Equity Bank Uganda has earned its place as a reliable financial partner through its diverse range of offerings. Its online banking services underscore the bank’s commitment to providing modern solutions for managing finances.
Equity Bank Account Types and Other Products & Services
Personal Banking (Ordinary account, current account, Call and Fixed Deposit account, Save plus account).
SME/Small Business and Corporate Banking— Open a Business current account, Social Institutional account, Call and Fixed Deposit account. Also gain access to Equity Bank Uganda loans.
Diaspora — Open or learn more about the Personal account, current account, Business account, Junior account.
Digital Banking — Get your preferred Card, transfer money internationally (requires the Equity Bank Uganda Swift-code), and connect online payment services for e-commerce online shopping.
Equity Bank Uganda Online Banking App #Beerasteady
The Eazzy Banking app exemplifies Equity Bank’s dedication to convenience, offering users a user-friendly way to manage their banking needs on mobile devices. Download the All New Equity Mobile App and enjoy a Smooth and Seamless Mobile Banking experience. Equity Bank’s online banking platform empowers customers to manage accounts, conduct transactions, and monitor their finances.
Savings Account Process: Individuals interested in opening a savings account with Equity Bank Uganda can visit a branch and complete the necessary documentation. If get stuck and need to contact the Equity Bank Uganda WhatsApp number, or visit their branch, Equity Bank Uganda headquarters at The Church House, Kampala Road, Kampala, Uganda.
Tip: If you are an ATM person, the Equity Bank website has an ATM Finder, as well as Equity Agents and Branches near you. For International Money transfers you might need a SWIFT CODE, Standard Chartered Bank Website has a SWIFT CODE, and BAN Finder.
9. DTB (Diamond Trust Bank Uganda)
Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) is a leading regional bank, listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE). An affiliate of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), DTB has operated in East Africa for over seventy years.
Diamond Trust Bank Uganda Products & Services
Banking — Open an Agent account, Current local account, Current foreign account, Savings Local account, or a Savings foreign account.
Borrowing — Gain access to Business loans, Commercial loans, Overdrafts, and Personal loans, among others.
Cards — Go Cashless while shopping online, booking a hotel, or purchasing items from the Supermarkets.
Other Services — Not to mention MTN Float, Insurance, Money transfers, Fixed income, Forex, POS Acquiring, and so much more.
Diamond Trust Bank Main Features & Products
MTN Float — MTN Mobile Money Escrow is a trust account that serves an ecosystem comprising super dealers, financial technology companies, and MTN Agents. You can use this option to Conveniently purchase your MTN MoMo float free of charge from any DTB branch across the country.
DTB i24/7 — Enjoy better forex trading rates when you use DTB i24/7 internet banking and DTB m24/7 mobile banking.
DTB Kids Winner Account — Enjoy Zero charges, Zero Opening fees, and No Withdrawal charges. Kickstart your child’s financial independence with a DTB Kid’s Winner Savings account.
10. Housing Finance Bank Uganda.
Housing Finance Bank is a commercial bank in Uganda licensed by the Bank of Uganda, the national banking regulator. Housing Finance Bank Uganda is a full-service retail bank that is primarily involved in mortgages. Also offering personal and business bank accounts, loans, Disapora Banking, Digital banking, and more.
Housing Finance Bank Website Review — Products and Services Overview
Accounts — In this tab, you will find all types of Housing Finance Banks Accounts you can open up including Savings account and Current account.
Housing Finance Bank Loans — The most common types of Housing Finance Banks loans offered are Salary loans and Overdraft.
Digital Channels — Housing Finance Bank Uganda online banking login gives you access to the full digital banking experience. From HFB Online Banking, HFB Mobile Banking, and Agent Banking, among others. The digital marketing channels also include the Housing Finance Bank Branches and ATM Network.
Enjoy quick and flexible banking with the HFB Mobile Banking App, or visit any Housing Finance Bank branches in Kampala, or near you around Uganda.
Having a bank account and a debit or credit card is essential for anyone living in Africa, more especially in Uganda. A Debit or Credit card is your gateway to online banking and International Money transfers. Even though these days with Apps like ChipperCash, you might not need a Bank Account to get a Debit card. In fact, with an app like ChipperCash App, all you need is an ID and you have your self a Mobile Banking account that gives you access to Stocks investing and Cryptocurrency investing, among other cool features.
However, since these Banks and Financial Institutions have been around for more years than some Fintech apps, their tools are more trusted to help you store your money safely, make payments, and access credit. When choosing a bank, it is important to compare the features and benefits of each bank, as well as the promotional offers that they are currently offering. You should also consider your individual needs and preferences.
I hope this article has helped you understand the importance of having a bank account and a debit or credit card, the Best Banks in Uganda to help you get just that, and the Best International Banks in Uganda with a smooth Online Banking experience.
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.