Digital Solutions for Analog Agents: New Technologies to Manage Agent Networks
26 Pages Posted: 31 May 2018
Date Written: April 1, 2018
It is ironic that most digital money is delivered through very analog agent networks. These networks are defined by large field teams, stacks of paperwork and layers of cash management logistics. The problems the first generation of agent networks faced ten years ago are still issues today, and the tools companies are using to manage networks are so antiquated that they limit the evolution of the whole industry.
As a result, only about half of digital finance agents are active, agents still commonly run out of liquidity, and the customer experience and level of compliance with company policies vary greatly by agent outlet. Further, most providers have little idea how well their agents are trained, monitored or branded.
This paper argues that strategic investment in technology for agent network management can not only improve the quality of service these agent networks offer but can also lower the requirements for building networks enough to encourage new players to enter the industry. These new players could be distribution companies that are incentivized to disseminate products for everyone, not just those of their own brand. This is the most likely scenario for getting innovation to market in digital finance.
Keywords: fintech, financial inclusion, financial technology, agent networks, digital finance, inclusive fintech
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