By Adedapo Adesanya
In pursuit of expanding financial services and capturing more people into the banking net, a new venture was carved out by financial institutions in Nigeria, which is spreading by the day.
This new business is called agent banking and it has made transacting financial services easier because most people do not need to go to the banking hall or any bank to make payment, withdraw or deposit or transfer money to anyone anymore.
If you look around you these days, you will see people having small kiosks working as mobile money agents, who perform some of the things done in the banking halls.
Who is a Mobile Money Agent?
A mobile money agent is an person approved by a licensed financial institution to offer mobile money services like cash-in and out payment, airtime, service, and bill payments to customers.
Becoming a mobile agent is a great business consideration, and following these easy steps can make one start the business easily without stress.
To become a mobile money agent, the first step is opening a bank account with the bank of your choice or have an existing bank account (this is better because your transaction history helps in determining your saving level and qualifies you). That is, if you want to be a mobile agent for UBA, you must have an account with them. Some recommendations offered by existing mobile agents are: UBA, Access Bank, First Bank, and GTBank.
Take into consideration that some of these banks give the intending agent optional targets which may be daily or weekly, ranging from N50,000 daily to about N1,000,000 weekly, while some simply do not. One of such banks that give target to their agents is GTBank.
If you have either a savings or current account or both, you can have them linked to the Point of Sale (POS) machine, which is the major tool for the mobile money agent business.
To get a POS machine, you have to go your bank, meet the customer care service, and request for the agency banking, which attracts a fee between N5,000 and N10,000. This money must be paid to get a pin.
This form is where you will provide all the necessary information to qualify you to own a POS as an agent.
The data you must provide include your name, date of birth, state of origin, mobile number, your Bank Verification Number (BVN), Guarantors, Tax Identification Number (TIN) – if you don’t have this, you are given a form to get one. You will also be required to present a valid ID card (voters’ card, national ID card, national identification number [NIN]), and the PIN gotten from paying the fee, among others so they process your application. This generally takes between five working days to three weeks.
If you meet certain criteria, you are given a POS linked to your account.
One of the criteria considered is having a physical store or shop where people can meet to perform financial transactions. People who have shops qualify to be approved to be made a certified mobile money agent than those who don’t. Note that a having kiosk also qualifies you.
The location where the shop is located is also a key factor that will help. The presence of the shop in an area where businesses are situated is an added advantage on the side of the prospective agent.
Literacy is also considered, if the agent can read, write, and do basic calculations which is necessary in balancing accounts, it is a credible criteria that qualifies him or her.
Another thing you must have is a phone, preferably an Internet enabled phone so that you can get alerts. This will make balancing both credit and debit transactions made daily or weekly very easy.
On the part of the bank, for every transaction of less than N10,000, the bank gets 0.5 percent while transactions from N10,000 upwards to a limit set by the bank (varies from bank from bank), they charge 0.75 percent. These charges are inclusive Value Added Tax (VAT) because of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy.
As a mobile money agent, charges on transactions vary, depending on how much the transactor wants to send or receive. Between N1,000 – N3,000, a charge of N100 is applied but N4,000 upward attract a N200 charge. Whether you are sending or receiving. Some agents also fix their charges but standard procedure should not attract more than N200.
Also, note that as a mobile money agent, you are not only restricted to pure banking transactions. You can also do other side payments like airtime recharge for mobile networks, bills payment or settlement such as PHCN bills, waste bills, DSTV, GoTV, Startimes, Local Government levies and permits, and even open accounts for banks.
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