Living or working far from a bank branch is a massive disadvantage for millions of poor people around the world. Without access to financial services, businesses can’t grow, incomes remain low and families can’t save. In addition, people often risk losing money from time traveled or theft on the journey to a bank far away.
By bringing financial services closer to our clients, FINCA is removing this big obstacle to financial inclusion. FINCA DRC has done this through banking agents and POS machines.
Since 2011, FINCA operates a network of banking agents in the Democratic Republic of Congo. These agents consist of local merchants and shopkeepers in areas where FINCA doesn’t have a presence to provide basic banking services to clients far from FINCA bank branches. The agents perform transactions through a POS machine. This portable device connects to bank accounts through the fingerprint recognition of customers.
In just six years, FINCA DRC agent network has grown to over 1,000 agents across the country.
About 20% of these agents serve rural areas, reaching more remote Congolese with needed financial services. Staff in the DR Congo plan to grow their agency banking presence in other rural areas over the next year.
At one banking agent’s pharmacy in the Masina neighborhood in Kinshasa, almost 100 transactions (cash deposits, withdrawals, payments) are done each day. The owner of the pharmacy, Claire Wandey, says her high volume is in part due to the availability of funds for transactions with her customers, a crucial component to any banking agent’s success.
Agents like Claire are key players to fighting financial exclusion. Ultimately, these agents are helping unserved populations access funds easily with just the use of their fingertips!