MANILA – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) have jointly launched a registry for cash agents, a project that seeks to reinforce the BSP’s twin goals of financial inclusion and payments digitalization. 
“The agent registry is a regulatory technology tool that will strengthen the BSP’s supervision of cash agents. The registry will facilitate standardized and timely collection of agent data and create a public database that will help customers locate the nearest accredited agents and their available financial services,” BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said in a statement Wednesday. 
Cash agents are retail outlets, such as sari-sari stores, convenience stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, and pawnshops, that provide basic banking services, such as cash deposits, cash withdrawals, balance inquiry, fund transfer, and bills payment. 
By 2020, there were over 58,000 active cash agents in the Philippines covering 85 percent of cities and municipalities reached by banking services. 
“The BSP recognizes the role of cash agents in promoting greater financial inclusion. They expand the reach of financial services for the unbanked and underserved population, especially in remote areas in the countryside. Besides providing easy and convenient access, cash agents are also low-cost and less intimidating access points than automated teller machines,” Diokno said. 
The AFI is a global network of policymakers composed of 101 member institutions from 89 countries, which aims to empower its members to advance the financial inclusion agenda through the formulation, implementation, and global advocacy of sustainable and inclusive policies. (PR)