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Bridging The Gap Between Customers And Banks

In this piece, Sandra Obochi, reports that the growth of POS services has created easy access for financial transactions, especially in local communities.

Over the years’ Point of Sale (POS) services have become a part of Nigerians’ daily lives as it increasingly depends on to buy petrol at filling stations, money transfers, withdrawals and payment of bills among other business services. Agent banking began in 2013, after the Central Bank of Nigeria released its guideline on the operations and management of the business.

Since then, it has remained one of the retail channels of several commercial banks to make their banking services reach a large number of people in the country. The platform has also given individuals and business owners additional means of income. For Samuel Temitayo, a Guarantee Trust Bank agent, he ventured into the business in 2016.

He said that there are several finance platforms that provides the service including Opay, Baxi, Moniepoint among. ”It is a profitable business and one of the best means of getting passive income,” he said. Another agent banker, in Nyanya a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, said she got permission to represent First bank two years ago. Refusing to disclose her name for security reasons, she noted that “people discipline themselves deposit money into their accounts everyday, no matter how small.

I encourage them on the need to save money Instead of spending the day’s proceeds. Sometimes, I use their money for my other business and ask the bank to debit my account in order to credit their account. The commission I receive from this business is enough to take care of my family. “Agent banking is about making additional money by agents. That is why we are mostly in the rural areas. We are known to the people and the people trust us too.” In the same vein, Mr Timothy Tyav, an Okada rider in Karu village, FCT said “PoS is like a bank at a doorstep. It has helped lessen and soften burdens on people not willing to go to the bank. You can easily walk to the nearest PoS shop and make transactions. I deposit the day’s end profits, I also transfer money to my wife and children easily at a very cheap charge without having to go to the bank.”

“So the services that those in the urban areas have access to, you too can get it in your local community as it speeds up purchase transaction with quicker responding and better customer service.” David Oche, another respondent said “considering that there are few or no ATM outlets in rural areas and if there are any, they barely have cash in them, the PoS outlet has granted easy access to cash to residents in rural areas. “Although most providers of point of Sale stations provide security protection, they can never negate the security risks completely.” Mrs Grace Ngbede, an agent in Masaka, a satellite town in neighbouring Nasarawa State says that “ PoS serves as a means of employment. In a month I earn as much as N120, 000 per month.

By the time you sort all expenses, you have like 100k left. “People confidently do all banking activities here without getting to a bank for long while unless they must go to the bank to make complaints. Genuinely, it has helped bridged a lot of gaps,” she added.

New National Star interactions with agents and customers revealed that PoS contributes to financial growth which leads to sustained development for people in the rural areas. However, there are complainants about declined PoS transaction but still customers account debited, thus, warranting follow up at banks which might take up to 14 working days or less to resolve depending on the financial institution. “Nobody enjoys standing under the sun waiting to use an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) to withdraw money, PoS speeds everything up. It brings a lot of relief and it is faster during emergencies,” a young woman simply identified as Mary said as she stood collecting money from a PoS operator. Besides, a graduate of accounting, Bernard Atayi, who owns and operates a retail outlet says he conducts financial transactions and other related services. According to Atayi “business thrives more in rural areas, semiurban centers and communities.

As a remote banking channel, banks equip the agents with point-of-sale (PoS) card reader, mobile phone, barcode scanner, personal identification number (PIN) pads, personal computer, etc. They are third party agents and can be an agent to as many banks as they can serve.” At Karishi market in the FCT, a cross section of traders said that they were enjoying the banking services of PoS agents, who come for transactions. They said the agents make it easier for them by coming to collect deposits daily. Stating that they have never had issues with them because they receive alerts immediately they give money which shows that they are genuine.

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