What is Agency Banking (Agent Banking)?

Estel Agency Banking - In Detail

Agency banking or Agent Banking is a model that allows banks to contract third-party retail networks to provide selected banking services to their customers. These third-party retailers could be a grocery/daily needs store, a store dedicated to providing consumer services, or simply an agent on foot. This is a branchless banking model which provides significant benefits over an ATM, because of the presence of a human interface.

Agency Banking Software enhances the ability of Banks to acquire more customers, and serve existing customers better with lower costs, thereby contributing positively & directly to a Bank’s balance sheet and brand recognition.

Agency banking is particularly useful in cases where the bank cannot set and maintain a full-fledged brick-and-mortar branch due to economic or geographical limitations. A bank can set up an agency banking centre with minimal & quite affordable capital investment (CAPEX) and negligible operating expenditure (OPEX).

In its simplest form, an agent-on-foot can go to a customer or a prospective customer to provide Bank@Home or Doorstep Banking Service, using either a mobile phone or a POS terminal as the ‘banking terminal’.

Estel’s Agency Banking Solution

Estel‘s innovative Agency Banking solution enables Banks to go Branchless, increase brand visibility, reach & accessibility & reduce Capex Costs.

As a Branchless Banking Solution Provider, Estel is a well-known name in the industry. Apart from Agency Banking Solution, Estel also provides the following branchless banking software solutions:

  • Micro ATM Solution: A human-assisted mobile-based ATM service.
  • Mobile Banking Solution: A fully featured mobile banking solution for banks.

Services provided by Estel’s agency banking:

  • Bank account opening
  • KYC capturing and verification
  • Cash Deposit
  • Cash withdrawal
  • Domestic Money Transfer
  • Balance Check
  • Mini Statement
  • Pre-Paid Recharges
  • Bill Payments (Post-paid & Utility)

Components of Agency Banking Solution:

  • Smartphone, Card-reader, and Printer: An agent equipped with just a smartphone, a small printer (Bluetooth thermal printer), and a card reader can start working as a banking agent. Smartphones equipped with Estel’s Agency Banking Application (a Smartphone App) are the main component needed to provide Agency Banking service. Card-reader allows ATM card-based transactions and Printer allows the agent to print statements and other transaction receipts. Agents without card readers can operate in card-less mode!
  • Agency Banking Application: Estel provides smartphone applications for Android & iOS platforms. The application is used for authentication and secure communication with the Banking environment.
  • Estel’s Agent Banking Software (Server Side): Estel’s Agency Banking Platform is the software interface between Agency Banking Applications and Bank CBS.

Salient Features of the Agency Banking Platform

  • Estel’s agency banking platform module runs on top of Estel’s proven high-performance transaction engine capable of processing over 1000 Transactions per Second (TPS).
  • Agency Banking Software Application is available for Android & iOS platforms. The applications are compatible with most smartphones available on the market.
  • The solution allows an agent to collect/capture digital copies of KYC documents from customers to perform eKYC.
  • Fully certified Card-readers can perform ATM card-based operations.
  • The Platform is compatible with biometric authentication mechanisms to provide Cardless Agency Banking service.
  • All transactions are end-to-end encrypted using keys from Bank HSM
  • This branchless banking solution platform can integrate with all the popular CBS platforms
  • The solution provides online real-time transaction reporting.
  • The platform also integrates with mobile network operators and utility service providers to provide prepaid recharge and bill payment services.

Use Case Scenarios

  • Banking the Unbanked: A small village in an isolated north-eastern region of India has just over 100 households. None of them ever had a bank account because the nearest bank is over 50 km away. But innovative bank contracts with the only village grocery shop owner to provide agency banking service. Now 80 households in the village have at least one account with the bank. They are no longer unbanked!
  • Doorstep Service: Several bank account holders in the small town of Kitale in Kenya are senior citizens who find it difficult to visit a bank branch for regular banking operations. So, they call the local Banking Agent whenever they need a service. This agent visits them at home carrying a smartphone, a card reader, and a small pocket printer to provide various banking services, e.g. cash deposit, cash withdrawal, balance check, account statements, etc.
  • Prepaid Recharge & Bill Payments: On average any household has a minimum of 5 bills to pay including utility services (water, electricity, phone, etc.), prepaid recharge of Mobile and TV, school fees, etc. Paying them individually at their payment centres would consume a lot of time, but at an agency banking centre all these recharges and payments can be done at a single desk and the consumer can pay for all of them using his/her account balance.
  • Domestic Money Transfer: George, brother of Jim in Lebanon urgently needs to help his brother with some money. But he does not have access to internet/mobile banking and the bank's working hours are already over. So, he visits the store providing agency banking service because this store stays open until late in the evening. The storekeeper can help George transfer money from his bank account to Jim’s bank or m-money account, all securely authenticated by George and executed by the bank’s trusted agent.


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