Agency Banking: How To Successfully Run a POS Business

Agency Banking: How To Successfully Run a POS Business

POS business, which is also known as Agency Banking, is currently one of the leading and most lucrative businesses in Nigeria because most people lack the time and energy to visit any ATM or stand in long ATM line for cash withdrawal or transfer. To make life easier, they withdraw or transfer funds from the nearest POS banking agent and pay the required commission. You can make up to N5,000 daily if you have enough cash to give out, good customer base, or do the right thing.

It is also no news that millions of Nigerians are into POS business, but only a handful of them achieves more success within a short period of time. Do you think the others don't take the business seriously? Well, maybe there is something they are not doing right. This article will make amend. 

In this article, we shall discuss the following:

1. What is Agency Banking/POS Business?

2. How to set up a POS business

3. Factors that hinder the growth of a POS business 

4. Possible problems encountered in POS business 

5. How to make your POS business stand out 

6. The dos and don'ts of POS business 
Agency Banking: How To Successfully Run a POS Business
Agency banking is form of branchless banking that enables conventional banks or other financial institutions, through approved agents, to broaden their network of  branches and services  in cost-efficient manner. Agency banking is popularly known as POS business; thus these terms will be used interchangeable in the article.

You need four major things to start a POS business: a shop, banner(s), physical cash, and a POS device. Your shop should be branded with the required accessories of the business. You need a banner or banners to create awareness and get the attention of passersby. You can start with at least N100,000 for withdrawal and deposit. Out of this N100,000, N80,000 should be made available for withdrawal whereas N20,000 should be kept in your account for deposit since the volume of withdrawal usually exceeds that of deposit in this business. However, you need to double your capital as you make progress in the business.  And of course you need a POS device to make this happen. Should you need a POS device, contact me: 08035232107. 

The growth or death of any business is mostly caused by the owner of the business. How would you feel if you were the cause of your own failure in business? If you would feel bad, you have to take note of the following factors and do the needful. These factors are the core enemies of a POS business: 

1. High Charges 
Your charges can make your customers run away or come back to perform more transactions. Moreover, the business is more competitive now. Gone are those days when there were a handful of POS outlets. Gone are those when you charged a customer N700 for N30,000 withdrawal, and the customer paid without uttering a word. Thus the lower your charges, the larger your customer base. And when you have more customers, you make more profit. 

I advise you apply wisdom when stating your charges. You can't be close to a bank and charge N200 or N300 for N10,000, neither can you charge the same amount when you are in the midst of other competitors. Take a tour, find out what other competitors charge and ensure your charges are lower than theirs to increase your customer base. 

2. Scope of the Business 
Most agents think agency banking (or POS business) is just about cash withdrawal and deposit. So, they limit their business to such uncircumcised thought. There is more to agency banking, My Friend. Aside from cash withdrawal and deposit, you can make bill payments, TV subscription, fund betting wallets, sell airtime and data bundles, sell WAEC result checker PIN, sell event tickets etc. If your service provider does not provide these services, there are a lot of android apps on Play Store which do and also pay commissions for all transactions done on the app. Download and install them, register, fund your wallet, and perform your transactions. Spread your tentacles and make more money.

3. Reliance on Ambassadors and Aggregators 
Ambassadors and aggregators act as middlemen between agents and their service providers. Most times, they carry out the registration process of potential agents and ensure that agents meet their daily targets. Like agents, their powers are limited. They can escalate issues (if there are any) but can't resolve them. They are also employees of the company you are working with/for. Therefore, solely relying on them for the resolution of all disputes in your business means killing your business gradually. 

From personal experience, most ambassadors or aggregators hardly take their calls. But you won't blame them because they also have targets. The best thing to do as an agent is to get the helplines of your service provider(s) and call them when necessary. Disputes, in most cases, are resolved within a short period of time when you call the helplines of your service provider(s). In this business, customers trust your credibility when you resolve their disputes on time. 

4. Failure To Pay Attention to Details 
The name “Service Provider” is not there for a mere fanciful purpose. As the name implies, service providers provide agents with the needed services that enhance the growth of their businesses. Every POS company has an android application which agents use for their businesses. You can do a whole lot with it – check your daily or lifetime transactions, log disputes or tickets, contact support, or even chat live with a customer care representative. Unfortunately, most agents are too busy to notice all these features. They would rather disturb their aggregators with every little problem. If you are conversant with the agent app of your service provider, you won't bother anybody should you encounter any problem, and resolving any issue won't be a problem to you. Learn to study the agent app of your service provider. 

5. Bad Customer Service 
If you are an agent who always refers customers to their banks to resolve dispense errors, please stop it. Do you think those customers will come back to your business centre after stressfully resolving such errors? The answer is NO. In most cases, you can help your customers resolve  disputes without going to the bank. When there is a dispute, especially dispense error, you can contact the customer's bank through a phone call and make the complaint. This should be done after your service provider must have confirmed that the money is not in their possession. In other words, you must first contact your service provider before contacting the customer's bank to make such complaint. A registered dispute takes a maximum time of three working days to be resolved. During this period, calm the customer down with nice words and assure him/her of getting the money reversed at the stipulated time. I have won the hearts of many customers with this kind gesture. It's your business; make it fruitful. 

6. Familiarity 
Some customers may feel they are entitled to buy on credit or borrow money from you because they know you or always carry out their transactions at your business centre. For the same reason, your siblings, friends, parents or acquaintances may feel the same way. You stop your business from growing once you approve this thought of theirs. Business is business; take heed lest you fall. 

7. Location
You have to consider “location” if you must excel in agency banking. Do not site your shop at a place that is very close to a bank or an ATM outlet. The bank will definitely enjoy more patronage than you because of the varying charges. Also, site your shop at a place where it is easily seen by passersby. You will also make more profit if you site your shop at a place that is close to a market. 

8. Operating in Isolation 
Nobody knows it all in this busines. You can't excel in this business if you are alone. Do not see other agents as enemies. Feel free to visit them and ask questions where necessary. The fight is against poverty, not ourselves. Instead of competing with other agents, collaborate with them to make your business grow. 

9. The Use of a POS Device as the Only Device 
Agents who use only one device get frustrated easily once there is a network problem. Using only one device in this business means standing on one of your legs. You can never be comfortable. You need more than one device so you don't get stranded, lose customers and consequently close your business for the day once bad network creeps in. 

Four major problems you can't run away from in POS business/agency banking are:
1. Dispense Error
This error is associated with withdrawal and is caused by bad network. When a bank or financial institution debits a customer's account without giving him/her value for such debit, it is called a dispense error

An agent is expected not to pay an affected customer when there is a dispense error in spite of the customer's appeal or threat. The agent should rather log such transaction as a dispute and wait for resolution. If the money is with the agent's service provider, the money will be refunded into the customer's account or the agent's wallet depending on the service provider. Otherwise, the customer will be asked to visit his/her bank for resolution. I advise agents to always assist their customers during this process and manage them professionally. This will make them patronise you more. 

2. Pending Transaction(s)
This problem is associated with deposit. When you try to deposit money into a customer's account and it shows pending, it means the transaction is not completed yet and the beneficiary hasn't gotten value for such transaction. In this case, you don't need to carry out the transaction again. 

Pending transactions may take 24-48hrs or less to process successfully. However, you can contact the support team of your service provider for quick resolution. The money maybe reversed to the agent's wallet or paid into the beneficiary's account once the transaction is reprocessed.

3. General Network Problem
Most times, bad network affects withdrawal without affecting deposit or fund transfer, and vice versa. But when there is a general network problem, you won't be able to withdraw or deposit cash, make bill payments, buy airtime or data etc.  Everything is down. At this point, you need another device to sail smoothly. 

4. There are times when a transaction is successful but the agent's wallet isn't credited. In this case, you are expected to refresh or sync your wallet so you can get value for such transaction. If you don't get value after doing this, contact your support team. 

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Similarly, when a business becomes more competitive, you have to look for other ways to make yours unique in order to remain in business. Below are some good pointers on making your POS business unique:

1. Packaging 
The difference between Mr Biggs and a roadside restaurant is packaging. Agency banking, as the name implies, is a banking business. So, it won't be bad if you give your business a bank setting. Unlike other agents who run this business under a small canopy or an umbrella decorated with tables and plastic or wooden chairs, you can rent a shop and furnish it like a bank. Make your customers comfortable, and they will find comfort in your shop 24/7. And this means more money. Below is a 30-second video of the interior of my shop. 

2. Create Online Presence 
Most agents don't showcase their busineses online because they feel agency banking is all about cash withdrawal and deposit. See factor number 2 to know what agency banking entails. I started my POS business online, but today, I own a well-packaged shop which I rented with the profit I made from my online shop. Place your business online and watch it grow within a short period of time. 

3. Accept Transfer as a Form of Withdrawal
Today, most agents don't accept transfer as a form of withdrawal because of fake alerts. All they do is card withdrawal. Have you ever thought of how your customer base will increase if you accept transfer? This will also make your business stand out since most agents don't accept transfer. You can accept transfer, but don't rely on SMS alert when you do. When a customer transfers money into your account, use your bank mobile app to check whether you have received the money or not. Pay the customer only when the money has reflected in your mobile app, not when you receive an alert. SMS alerts can be manipulated, but the money in your bank mobile app can't be manipulated. 

4. Provision of Good Customer Care Service
Without your customers, you are nothing. Give them all the assistance they want when they have issues. Don't refer them to their banks for resolution of disputes, especially dispense errors, except they MUST visit their banks for them to be resolved. 

1. Don't use any bank's device to start a POS business except you have enough cash set aside for the business.  Unlike devices of other financial institutions, most banks' devices don't have wallets; thus, all transactions carried out on a day drop in the agent's Personal Business Account(PBA) the next day. Transactions done on Friday drop in the agent's PBA on Monday. This is how most banks' devices are configured. There are many companies that offer POS services: Opay, PayCentre, Moniepoint, Paga, Capricon Digital (Baxi Box) etc. Using any of these companies' devices makes life easier for you because of the wallet feature. All cash withdrawals drop immediately in your wallet, giving you easy access to your funds (which you can also transfer to your bank account and subsequently withdraw from any bank's ATM when you run out of cash). Contact me should you need any of these devices: 08035232107.

2. Don't set up a POS business because you think it is lucrative. Set it up because you are ready to render quality services to the public. 

3. For security reason, don't give out large sum of money to people you don't really know as most persons may come to know your financial strength in order to strike when necessary. 

4. Don't keep large sum of money in your shop. If, for instance, you have set aside N500,000 for withdrawal and deposit, keep only N100,000 in your shop. The balance of N400,000 should be kept elsewhere. 

5. Always display your customer service skill whenever customers experience a problem in your shop. Give them all the assistance they need, and do not let them resolve a dispute alone. 

6. If you must have an employee, endeavour to teach him/her the business before leaving the business in their care. 

7. Count your Naira notes twice or thrice before paying a customer in order not to overpay him/her. 

8. Thoroughly check all Naira notes brought for deposit so you don't receive counterfeit notes. 

9. Close on time as evil is mostly perpetrated at night. 

10. Always check your previous balance and current balance before and after carrying out a transaction. This will help you know when you have cash shortage. 

11. Report any dispense error or pending transaction by logging it as a dispute once it is brought to your notice. You can also contact your service provider's support team as regards this issue for quick resolution. 

12. Get as many POS devices as possible so you don't get frustrated when one is affected by bad network. 

13. Don't pay a customer when there is a dispense error. Learn to manage the customer until the issue is resolved. 

14. Be security conscious. 

POS business is a lucrative business, but only those who apply wisdom prosper beyond measure.