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A banking agent is a retail or postal outlet contracted by a financial institution or a mobile network operator to process clients’ transactions. Rather than a branch teller, it is the owner or an employee of the retail outlet who conducts the transaction and lets clients deposit, withdraw, and transfer funds, pay their bills, inquire about an account balance, or receive government benefits or a direct deposit from their employer. Banking agents can be pharmacies, supermarkets, convenience stores, post offices, and many more. (Wikipedia) Banking agents are usually equipped with a combination of point-of-sale (POS) card reader, mobile phone, barcode scanner to scan bills for bill payment transactions, Personal Identification Number identification number (PIN) pads, and sometimes personal computers (PCs) that connect with the bank’s server using a personal dial-up or other data connection There are few branches of banks in the country and there is a growing need to spread across the country such that the distance between where people live and where banks are located. Agency banking will drive an impression of banking in Nigeria. Agency banking will save you the time, cost and energy, for instance instead of going to all parts of the country, building more branches, people are allowed to use their existing business outlets to provide banking services. It will penetrate and propagate banking business in the rural areas. Most significantly, it will make banking grow and more acceptable to the uneducated and those in rural areas. A very strong area of agency banking is the mobile money. Agency banking will bring the market place to the mobile money, where you can buy airtime, pay your bills, and pay for ticket etc. The difference between mobile banking and mobile money is this; Mobile banking is what a bank offers as alternate channel to access your bank account. Mobile money on the other hand is saying you don’t need a bank, but stored value on your phone. Customers can send funds through mobile phones, using mobile platform, or at the ATM using the ATM card, it allows customers to pay their bills, satellite television subscription fees and also purchase mobile recharge credit on their phone or for third parties. Your account now has many arms or other means of assessing it. In essence, the bank is opening up your (customer) account record to you but through different means. For example, instead of going to the branch, equivalent of the branch is what you have on your mobile phone. On your mobile, you can see exactly the same thing a teller can see. The same thing you can see on your internet, you will be able to see your statement without going to the bank. As an individual, you need a key to get into the world of electronic banking, and that key is your card. Banking agents is the backbone of mobile banking that is, performing transactions over a mobile device, most often a mobile phone. Banking agency help financial institutions to divert existing customers from crowded branches providing a “complementary”, which is often a more convenient channel. As Firms, Organizations, Community and individuals lets supports and welcome this innovation of mobile money because it’s a just another means of operating CASHLESS.

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This article was first published on 24th July 2012 and updated on July 27th, 2012 at 9:17 am

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