The number of agency banking operators, popularly known as POS agents, in the country has more than doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, with many preferring to use services of these agents over the stress and long queues at the banking halls and at the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) spots.
Point of Sale (POS) operators can now be found on every street in almost every part of the country. They are in every market and bus parks handling deposits and withdrawals for bank customers while taking the burden off having to face large crowds at the banking halls.
However, their increasing presence has also been a security risk, particularly for the operators. With the rising level of insecurity in the country, POS operators in the country are having their own fair share of robbery attacks.
While some have lost their means of livelihood or had to suffer losses, some have not been so lucky, having become fatalities in the attack by armed robbers.
Since beginning of the year, there has been reports of POS operators being robbed at gun point with many of such incidents ending fatally. Some POS operators who spoke with me explained that they take extra caution to ensure that they do not become targets for armed robbers.
In a chat with Johnson, a POS operator in Lagos, he said before he started, he ensured that his shop is located in a secure area, even though it is in a prominent bus stop with high traffic. “We are safe here because we have lots of people around us here. Also, we don’t keep lots of cash, and when we do, it is kept securely where no one can know.”
Looking at his location, he can go about his business safely as he has two commercial banks one microfinance bank, and a filling station close to his shop.
Another POS operator, Omolola Alade, who operates out of a kiosk along at another bus stop, told me that she makes friends with the garage touts, who in return lookout for the safety of her life and that of her business.
Meanwhile, other POS agents who spoke to me, said they have been able to keep safe by not keeping a lot of cash, opening late, and closing quite early as most get robbed either early in the morning or towards the evening.