What are agents? Agents are third-party operators, whether as individual entrepreneurs or company outlets, that conduct transactions in behalf of an institution such as a bank to service customer requirements or solicit a business. In the context of financial services, agents are the frontline of any branchless financial service. From wherever they operate, they enable customers to transact – often by turning cash into e-money and back again.
According to the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), agents play a critical role not only in handling transactions but in identifying, acquiring, and educating new customers, as well as delivering a customer experience that keeps customers coming back. They also allow customers to conduct their financial affairs in an accessible way that would drive the use of electronic payments.
Agent networks are therefore groups of agents working in behalf of one or more principals to service end-customers. Together, they provide customer touch points that may otherwise have been unreached by banks and other financial institutions. Key challenges faced by agent networks include liquidity, technical capability, and transaction security.
ePayPilipinas will highlight efforts within the Philippines that promote agent networks as a viable means of increasing financial services touch points. It seeks to address gaps in building agent networks as well as elevate customer experience and trust in electronic payments.