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In Joan’s neighborhood, everyone has to travel long distances into the city or town just to pay bills. It’s expensive and time-consuming. So she jumped at the chance to become a digital financial agent. She’s the only one in her barangay on Iloilo island.

Now her neighbors come to her shop to make payments, transfer money and buy airtime using a new digital system. They can even purchase microinsurance for health. Through charging a small fee for these services, Joan has managed to increase her earnings.

Joan has three children, and her husband is a farmer. With the extra income they decided to invest in raising pigs.

“I am the only only one who is able to offer this service in my area. My neighbours don’t complain anymore since the charges are more expensive when they have to travel to go to the city or town proper.”

“I have a lot of customers,” she says. “As an agent, I am happy since not only am I able to earn additional income, but also help out my community.”

By boat, foot, or bicycle, many people in the Philippines must travel several hours just to pay bills. It’s a hardship, especially for the working poor, and one they often can’t afford. With support from JP Morgan Chase, Grameen Foundation worked with local partners to train sari-sari (variety) shopkeepers to provide more convenient financial services in their community. The Community Action Network program has trained 1,136 shopkeepers as financial agents, serving hundreds of thousands of customers and facilitating more than 596,000 transactions to date.

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