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Banking Through Networks of Retail Agents

Technology can enable banks and their customers to interact remotely in a trusted way through existing local retail outlets. Customers can be issued bank cards with appropriate personal identification number (PIN)-based or biometric security features, and the local store – the “banking agent” – can be equipped with a point-of-sale (POS) device controlled by and connected to the bank using a phone line or wireless or satellite technology. Infrastructure requirements can be further reduced by using mobile phones both to hold “virtual cards” for customers and as a POS device at the store. This paper by Ignacio Mas explores the idea of retail agents.

Ignacio Mas
Ignacio Mas is a Senior Fellow at CEME at the Fletcher School. He has been deputy director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has held senior telecoms jobs at Vodafone and Intel, and has been adjunct professor at the Business School at the University of Chicago. He holds a SB degree from MIT and a PhD from Harvard.

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