This paper lays out a framework for measuring access to digital financial services (DFS) provided via cash-in/cash-out agent networks in an ecosystem. We clarify the distinction between an agent till a provider-issued registered “line”, either a special SIM card or a POS machine, used to perform transactions for clients and an agent outlet – a physical location that carries one or more agent tills and may also have other businesses or support functions. We also highlight the importance of factoring in network activity rates, since dormant outlets are not performing services. In sum, we argue that the number of active agent outlets, ideally geo-located, is more appropriate for measuring access to finance in a country than the number of agent tills, which is generally used by the regulators and the industry.
Bersudskay, V. and McCaffrey, M. (2017). The True Size of Agent Networks in Leading Digital Finance Countries. Nairobi, Kenya: Helix Institute of Digital Finance.