The Mobile Money Initiative is the Nigerian government’s attempt to make financial services available to every customer in the country regardless of their location and the presence of financial institutions in the neighbourhood. Anyone can become a mobile money agent in Nigeria, and here is how to do it.
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1. Choose a bank
In Nigeria, you can become a mobile money agent both through a bank and on your own, but working with a bank is the preferred option. It’s perfect for beginners who need guidance and support while starting their mobile money business. The easiest way to make the right choice is to work with a bank you already patronize. If you have an account at any Nigerian bank that works with mobile money agents, the decision is actually a no-brainer.
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It’s worth noting that not all banks have similar conditions for their mobile money agents. Some make it mandatory for their agents to meet a certain daily or weekly target for transactions, while others have strict criteria for choosing the agents – for example, with some banks, you cannot run your business from a kiosk and need a real shop. Research the conditions offered by the banks and choose the one that fits your needs.
2. Choose a location
The location of your mobile money joint is one of the key factors influencing the success or failure of your business. Needless to say, the location needs to have a lot of foot traffic. At the same time, it shouldn’t have any major financial institutions that can become your direct competitors. When you offer the same services and fees as banks, there is really no point for the customers to patronize your venture.
3. Choose the services you’ll provide
As a mobile money agent, your primary service will be various banking transactions people would otherwise do at the bank, including money transfers and bill payments. However, there is no need to stop there. You can diversify your services by adding airtime recharge, governments levies, fines, and even opening new bank accounts for your customers to the mix. The more services you offer, the more people will visit your mobile money joint, but you also need to be qualified to render those services.
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4. Get the necessary equipment
Once the bank of your choice approves you as a mobile money agent and you secure your shop, you’ll need to get the necessary equipment. The good news is that mobile money is not a capital or equipment-intensive business. You will need a steady internet connection and power source, as well as a POS machine issued to you by the bank. You will also need a secure place to store all the money and papers such as a safe.
5. Run your business
As long as you’ve picked the right location for your business and used advertising materials and signs to give your potential customers a clear idea about what you do in your shop or kiosk, you will barely need to do anything to attract the clients. Typically, an agent makes around ₦100-₦200 on each transaction. If you are good at what you do and your fees are affordable, word-of-mouth marketing will work for you. You will need to regularly check with your bank to see whether you can add any new services or get special offers for your customers.
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