Channel header Unsplash photo by Alex Hudson

Cash-In / Cash-Out for Rural Agent Networks

What is the value of a gender-focused lens to CICO agent network development?

Emerging evidence suggests a positive relationship between CICO network quality and gender inclusiveness, due to both the performance of women agents and the potential for women customers to increase transaction volumes for agents of any gender. However, CICO network expansion does not automatically imply an increase in the proportion of women included as agents and customers - providers and policymakers need to be intentional to ensure greater inclusion. 

There  are  three  key steps  to  apply a  gender  lens to CICO network  development

  1. Understand women’s financial services needs and the broader contexts in which they live, which will vary across different segments of women
  2. Analyze women how existing CICO networks might be missing out on customers gender factors
  3. Develop and test and agents due to structural and normative hypotheses for solutions to these gaps


There are multiple gender-specific barriers prevent adoption/usage of financial services (including CICO) among women

Barriers to adoption/usage of financial services among women

However, CICO agent networks can accelerate women's access to and usage of financial services, including in rural areas

CGAP Photo (Temilade Adelaja via Communication for Development Ltd.)
Using her mobile phone, agent Ajayi Yemisi completes a mobile money transaction for a customer in her shop in the Ladi-Lak area of Bariga in Lagos, Nigeria. She has been in this business for three years.

Rural CICO agents and FSPs can use best practices that further enable women customers to use their services

  • Tailor services at the access point to women's needs, such as allowing women to make microdeposits
  • Ensure tangible confirmation of transactions, using technology and verbal/visual cues to signalsafe transactions
  • Design physical space at agent outlets in a gender-inclusive manner to help women feel more comfortable and capture women's business
  • Use CICO moments to teach and improve digital/financial literacy among female customers
  • Bring CICO access to women using mobile agent models that travel to women
  • Cluster agents together rather than working alone to make transactions look risky


Over the next couple of years, CGAP will work with partners to test gender-intentional approaches to CICO network development. We will continue to document lessons learned and best practice. 

Key resources
BLOG  JUNE 2021

Channeling Women’s Potential to Strengthen Last-Mile Agent Networks

In analyzing how to extend the reach and quality of rural cash in/cash out agent networks, we have come to realize that it is critical to apply a gender lens to identify key barriers for women. Here are three basic steps to do so.

CGAP BACKGROUND DOCUMENT  JUNE 2021

Gender and Cash In / Cash Out (CICO) Networks

This slide deck shows how to apply a gender lens to CICO network development and presents case studies that demonstrate how gender-intentional design works in practice.

Collaborator highlight

Women and Money logo

IDEO.org The Women and Money program surfaces the complex realities that keep women excluded from financial services and build solutions that unlock new opportunities to include women. In 2019, it conducted research in six countries culminating in a report that illuminates global insights and opportunities for design. For more information, see here.

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