Kenyans on Freelancer – Part 4

Here’s Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

I finally applied for my Freelancer card, which will let me draw my GAF earnings at any Kenyan Mastercard ATM. But it seems to have a lot of hidden charges. You pay $2 per every time you to load your card.  There’s a $3 levy fee monthly that allows you two transactions, with an additional dollar for every transaction after that. ATM withdrawals are $2.15 a piece outside the US, and it came with a fine print that I could barely read and hardly understood. That comes to almost Ksh 200 at a time. There’s even a charge for balance enquiries.

There’s a story I read online about the four types of plane passengers:

  1. Passenger A = All about me
  2. Passenger B = Business class
  3. Passenger C = Casual
  4. Passenger D = Deer in the headlights.

Passenger Ds are apparently the most scary, because they often pull shagzmodo moves that can crash the plane. Three guesses to which type I am.

When I first reached the $30 mark that allowed me to apply for a card, I was so excited that I rushed to fill the form. When it asked me to fill in ‘State’ I ignored it, and when it said P.O.Box is not an acceptable form of address, I stuck my tongue out. My application was rejected for incomplete information.

When I was done tantrumming, I emailed support and asked if I could get a card in Kenya, explaining the whole state and P.O.Box thing. They replied politely, showed me where to change the country from US to Kenya [Duh!!] and explained that I should fill in my physical address but that after my card was approved, I should write them an email requesting them to change my shipping address to P.O.Box. So I did.

Nothing happened for two days, then they sent me an email saying the card was being sent to my physical address, and asking me to give details to confirm my identity if I wanted to change my shipping address. They said it would cost me an extra $9.95 [to replace the card]. *russumfussum*

Meanwhile, my Moneybookers account is activated, and my bank accounts are attached, so I can withdraw using my standard ATM cards … after a $2.32 bank-to-bank transfer which I think takes 4 days. There’s a 1.99% charge for currency conversion, and a levy fee of $1.50 a month if your account is inactive. Active accounts – i.e. if you log in and transact at least once every 18 months – are free. It says there’s $2.32 Visa charge which I won’t even try to figure out, but at least there’s no charge for uploading funds.

Attaching my bank accounts was a lot easier than I thought. All I had to do was key in the bank swift code and my account number, and voila, ATM is ready to withdraw. Finding the swift code took me 2 hours. There are 4 ways to find a bank swift code:

  1. Call the bank. Unless you’re dating a bank employee, good luck with that. You could just walk into the bank … unless you’re a freelancer wearing pyjamas at 2.00 p.m. with no desire to shower and change.
  2. Check the bank’s website. Good idea. Unless your bank website doesn’t have a search box. WTF?!
  3. Check an online swift code directory. But you have to be a registered member.
  4. Check your bank statement. Right. Where is it again?

In the end, I googled and found the code on one of those articles that read:

If you’d like to make a donation to the XYZ medical bill, send your funds to Bank ABC account number 12345 Swift Code …

And just like that, my bank accounts were attached. Yay! I still have a maximum card loading option of $300 if I want to put money directly onto my credit card – for some inexplicable reason. Paypal is better for that. Paypal doesn’t let me receive or withdraw funds here, but I can use my Moneybookers to withdraw up to $5000 every 90 days. I can increase this amount by verifying my physical address [groan] or sending a $30 bank transfer to Germany…

So. I now have an active Freelance profile, a few new tricks to use, a one hundred dollar balance, and a way to access my earnings. Yay!

Oh wait … there’s a 15 day waiting period before GAF can release my first withdrawal. Groan. Sometimes I think security measures are ^%$£&%$£&%$&%£!!! Le big sigh.

Crystal Ading’ is a professional author, editor, rock lover and mother. Her work is available through

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  1. i would like to know of if you have gotten the card and how efficient is it.

    • Hi Mike

      I got my card on the 25th of September, attached it my GAF and Paypal accounts, and made my first withdrawal yesterday. It works beautifully.

      Paypal doesn’t allow withdrawals to card yet, so on Kelvin’s advice, I deposited my Paypal funds in my GAF account, loaded them from GAF onto the card, and withdrew at a Barclays ATM in Nairobi. The total charge was $3 for the Paypal deposit and $5 to instantly load the Freelancer card.

      Paypal sent the funds immediately, and the card was uploaded immediately too, but GAF only issues money on Mondays/Tuesdays and you have to make your withdrawal request by Sunday night, so you have to plan carefully. I hope this helps.

      • so how did you get the card? you gave a residential address? and did they send the card using the residential or the P.O. BOX that you gave them.


        • I sent them an email asking about that. They advised me to apply for the card using my residential address, then after I receive approval, I should send a second email asking them to change the shipping address to a P.O.Box. I got the card via P.O.Box about a month after the second email.

  2. Bad news – you can only use a GAF card to withdraw funds earned on GAF. My request to withdraw the funds I had transferred from Paypal was denied and the withdrawal was cancelled this morning. I now have to wait another week for the funds to move back to my Paypal account, then I can figure out some other way to withdraw them Le sigh.

    • matenje says:

      Hi,crystal thanks for the very informative articles that you write, they really do help.Nway what are the exact charges to transfer money from moneybookers to your kenyan bank account?

    • It is true, Crystal writes good and i have always enjoyed her writing, Very useful to the new breed of online workers. Keep up the good work!


  1. […] amazed she was so patient, as it took 10 emails between us to fix everything. I’m clearly a Passenger D kind of girl, but you rock […]

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