Photo of the Week
This photo was taken in a mobile money agent shop in the town of Lucban, Quezon, Philippines on May 15, 2013. Productive mobile money agents usually provide services for more than one mobile money operator in the Philippines. They often are also major airtime load retailers or airtime sub-distributors. However, this was the first time that I had met an agent that clearly serviced all three major mobile money operators in the Philippines namely GCASH, Smart Money, and BPI Globe BanKO.
Based on my brief discussion with the agent, the area is predominantly covered and serviced by Smart telecom and this was evident from signage everywhere in the town and surrounding communities. The agent admitted that she transacted at least 5 or more Smart Money transactions a day, only 2-3 for GCASH and had only recently started offering services for BPI Globe BanKO so transactions were still infrequent but picking up. She was very enthusiastic about offering mobile money services and the value it provided over traditional money transfer services in the Philippines. She also mentioned that it only made sense for shops like hers to offer services to as many mobile money operators as possible in order to make enough money and compared it to offering airtime loading services. It is good to see more shared mobile money agents in the Philippines as this only increases access and provides increased convenience.
For more on the value of shared agents, see my upcoming blog post on Lesson #4: Using Mobile Money to Promote Financial Inclusion: Convenience & Access.
Photo Credit: John Owens, Chemonics International