Lessons in Fintech: The Human ATM

On Monday 24th of April, a group of elite businessmen, bankers and lawyers converged at the Oriental Hotel, from 8am to 6pm, to discuss the future of finance for Africa. I was privileged to be part of the group.

The event was put together by the Digital Finance Institute (DFI) in collaboration with FINTECH Associates Limited. DFI is based in Vancouver, Canada. DFI facilitated the 1st AI conference in Canada, in March.

During the Lessons in Fintech session, my co-panellist, Olaoluwa shared his lesson.

Olaoluwa is the CEO of Cash Envoy. Earlier this year, his team discovered a spike in the value and volume of transactions done in Ebonyi state. They drilled down, and found that the spike was due to one business.

In the spirit of curiosity and in alignment with the CBN Know Your Customer (KYC), Cash Envoy to send in a rep to visit the merchant. They wanted to know how and why this merchant was doing such huge volume and value.

The rep got to the place of business of the merchant and he could not believe his eyes. The businessman was sitting beside a big Ghana-must-go bag of money and there was a long queue of people in front of him.

The man had a POS machine with him. Each person comes and states the amount he/she wants as cash. The man tells them how much the fee/charge for that amount is. Then the ATM card of the “customer” is inserted into the POS. After a successful transaction on the POS machine, the business proceeds to pay the customer the transaction amount less the charge/fee.

He was in business, big business, judging by the spike he had caused in Cash Envoy’s records.

Cash Envoy has since come to realize there is a huge gap in access to finance for most people outside of Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja. They are now deploying agency banking solutions to fill this gap.