Well, we are a 10 days into being here in Kenya and the good news is, I think we finally have the ability to transfer money without major charges accomplished. It was a week-long project.
Just to make sure no one despairs, we always had access to some of the money. Our Chase card worked on our end all the time (though some places in Kenya have had issues with their credit card systems) and one of our ATM cards worked (but it has a foreign transaction fee).
There were three things that we had issues:
First, the ATM without foreign transaction fees. Part of this was our fault – neither of us remembered our PINs, so our initial attempts failed probably because of that. After fixing that, I think our cards had been flagged. After two attempts at calling the company, I am pretty certain we have things worked out.
Second, PayPal. Let’s just say, I think PayPal’s security verification needs to be eliminated in the present format. The good news is, if anyone needs to send us money, they still can, I think. However, I don’t think we can send money via PayPal. Thankfully, it is not a system we need to use much.
Finally, a system most of our American friends have probably never heard of: Wave. This was a new system to us that allows us to send money to an account that is tied with our Kenyan cell phones (or others). From this “cell phone” account we can both pay for services and transfer money to people. This system took a while, but eventually, I think we got it worked out.
Some lessons that were learned – 1) VPN service is wonderful. With this and 1-800 numbers, we can make Skype calls to a lot of places for free (though not all). 2) I don’t like PayPal anymore. 3) Real customer service is nice. 4) Not having a US number available makes some things very difficult. 5) My (Ryan’s) mom is very helpful and willing to put up with a lot… thanks Mom!
One week at a time…