Key questions this article answers:

  1. Cash agents have hiked their service fees since the naira scarcity began, charging as high as 10%-20% margins in service charges. How much are they benefiting from the crisis?

  2. Mobile money operators (companies that recruit and manage agent networks) have also had to deal with the toll the naira scarcity is having on their agents. How have they been able to cope?

Over the past few weeks, naira notes have virtually vanished from banking halls, ATMs and POS shops.

Many of us are experiencing new ways of being broke, either by having no money and no cash or, like me, having money but no cash to show for it.

In the mad scramble for new naira notes with mobs storming bank halls and ATMs set on fire, one group doesn’t seem to be helping matters: POS agents (aka cash agents).

They’re taking the heat for seizing the opportunity to sell cash at premium rates. Some are charging as high as 10% margins to sell cash, 5x more than before the crisis broke out (~2%).

We’re left with a bit of a Sophie’s Choice—pay outrageous rates to get cash or take the 199th spot on an unnecessarily long ATM queue.

But has the cash crisis been an all-around win for POS agents? How much are they benefiting from the ongoing crisis?

This article will examine whether