Host(s):

There are certain commitments you need to be aware of to start and successfully operate a Mobile money/Bank agent business.

The Mobile Money/Bank agent business will require that you dedicate time to it if you want it to thrive. You need time to:

  • Study an operator, their fees and charges, and their operating modalities
  • Keep accurate record of your business and ensure that you are not making a loss
  • Periodically go to a bank to re-credit your wallet (if you have more cash in hand that you have in the bank) or withdraw cash, (if you have more cash in the bank than cash at hand)
  • Market your services to customers so they can continuously patronize you.
  • Educate your customers about the financial products and services you are selling and why your customer should subscribe to it through you. (e.g Micro Insurance)

The amount of money you have to do this business determines the number of transactions you can handle per time. We call this money “float” because, in essence, you will always have that amount of money - just that you are moving it between having it in cash and having it in your account. As an agent, and depending on the services you want to perform, you will need:

  • Money in your wallet and
  • Money in cash. (Cash in hand)
Money in your wallet/account is useful for cash-in or paying bills. i.e when the customer comes with cash to make a transfer, you transfer money from your account/wallet to the specified customer's account. If you don't have money in your wallet/account to transfer to their account (and they get alert), they will not do the transaction with you. Money in Cash (Cash in hand) is useful for cash - out, i.e when the customer comes to you and wants to withdraw cash, if they make a transfer to your account and there is no cash at hand to give them, then you are of no use to them. It's like going to an ATM and not being able to withdraw money. The more money you have in your account, the more cash-out transactions you can do.

Having a location is very important and strategic for many reasons. Here are some reasons why you should strongly consider getting an operating location to work out of:

  • Builds trust to work with you because they know where to find you if they have any challenges or enquiries
  • Knowing that you will always show up means they can plan around you and refer people to you.
  • Location branding increases customer trust
  • You have the advantage of walk-in customers who were probably just passing by, noticed your location and came in to do business.
  • You benefit from having a lot of repeat customers patronize you.
  • Having a location attracts more opportunities to you. Other banks/operators will be the one lobbying to have you on their service. This gives you higher  negotiating power.
You should note that most banks and operators require you to have an operating location to onboard you as their agent.

The Mobile Money business is a trust business. If you want to make it in this business, your customers must be able to trust you as someone that:

  • Has high integrity - Knowing that if they give you their money (cash in), you will not commit fraud with it, but actually save it.
  • Demonstrate Consistency: Knowing that they can find you when they need you
  • Knowledgeable - Your customers want to see you as someone who knows what he/she is doing, can accurately answer calls, and advise them appropriately on how to handle challenges, etc.
  • Reliable: Your customers want to be sure that if you said you will do X, they will get X.
  • Empathy and Customer Orientation: Your customers want to feel important when they interact with you.
These are all the qualities customers look for in a bank, and that is what they expect of you as a mobile money agent/bank, because, in essence, you are a mini bank. If you are not willing and ready to demonstrate these qualities, the Mobile Money & Bank agent business is not for you.

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