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The Benefits of Agent Lending

April 26, 2022

With work-from-home becoming a fixed feature rather than a temporary pivot, mobile connectivity paired with easy access to services have become key drivers of everyday life. Sadly, telcos are not moving fast enough to meet shifting customer expectations.

Simply offering fixed mobile services like voice calling is no longer enough for telcos to retain revenue (Telkom alone suffered a 22% drop in revenue from voice services in 2020). MNOs are losing customers to fintech companies that offer a bouquet of digital services on top of mobile.

Offering mobile financial services is a viable, long-term strategy for recovering lost revenue and improving customer ARPU and, for many MNOs, agent lending is the ideal way to do this. 

What Is Agent Lending?

Within the mobile services industry, agent lending is a service MNOs offer customers through their agents. Agents are equipped with the legal, technical and financial capabilities to offer mobile financial services to customers, such as mobile money lending, on top of regular mobile services. 

Agent lending is built on the development of credit scores that agents create for customers and build up over time. It includes providing services to customers like:

  • Advanced airtime and data lending
  • Mobile money wallet creation and lending
  • Handset financing
  • Small to medium-sized loans

Agent lending will consist of smaller airtime and data advances initially as a credit profile for the customer is created. As the customer’s credit score is recorded, agents will progress to offering other mobile financial services like mobile money lending and handset financing. 

How Does Agent Lending Benefit Customers?


Financial Identity Creation

A large portion of existing customers do not have an established financial identity, making it more difficult for them to access financial assistance of any sort. 

By providing advanced airtime and data lending as well as mobile money lending services, MNOs are in a unique position to play a pivotal role in helping customers build financial identity profiles. 

Creating credit profiles for customers and assigning credit scores will ultimately help customers access other financial services in the future. 

Access to Loans

Approximately 11 million people in South Africa alone do not have access to financial services of any kind. Unbanked and underbanked citizens who require loans in times of need are often turned away due to their unbanked status. 

Again, telcos are in a unique position to help financially excluded individuals access the loans and other financial services they need. 


Greater Financial Inclusion

Mobile financial services provide a significant opportunity for MNOs to promote greater financial inclusivity among underserved communities.

Agent lending can be particularly helpful to potential customers who are more averse or less trusting of a fully digital mobile financial services experience and may prefer the advice and expertise of a human agent, even if it’s not in person. 

How Does Agent Lending Benefit Telcos?


Upskill and Improve Agent Service

The shift towards digitization of services means there’s a reduced need for human resources across industries. Job losses resulting from digitization are devastating for those impacted. 

Through agent lending, telcos can prevent skills-related job losses through training and upskilling existing employees. This will improve and add value to the services they offer to customers.


Build Long-term Customer Relationships

By offering additional mobile financial services, MNOs create an even more valuable customer experience. Telcos can use mobile financial services to strengthen existing relationships with customers and onboard new customers more easily. Customer loyalty and retention will likely increase, reducing churn and improving ARPU. 


Position Your Brand as a Leading Service Provider

Providing access to secure mobile money lending and other financial offerings helps to build long-term trust in customers. With the addition of agent lending to offering financial services you, as an MNO, can position your brand as a trusted and reliable service provider in the industry to both new and existing customers.  


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Despite the benefits that agent lending brings, offering mobile financial services does come with a certain amount of risk to telcos providing them. Telcos may feel hesitant about assuming the risk of offering advanced services and loans to customers who may default on repayments. 

Airvantage is one of the largest mobile financial services providers in Africa helping MNOs unlock new revenue streams through advanced airtime, data and mobile money lending. We specialise in:

  • Advanced airtime and data lending
  • Mobile wallets and mobile money lending
  • Handset finance
  • Financial identity as a service

We take on the risk while you take on the credit and enjoy the benefits of expanding your services and earning higher revenue. 

If you’d like to learn how Airvantage can help you launch mobile financial services for agent lending, book a consultation with us.


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