1.1 Background to the Study
Economically, a well-developed method of payment in a country ensures safety, stabilization and well-functioning financial system. Proper and effective payment system create an avenue for quick and timely accomplishment of business transactions which help improve on production, leading to job creation and hence, economic growth. Good payment system has the potential of helping in the overall improvement of the micro and the macro sectors of economy.
According to the Bank of Ghana (2017), the basic payment systems take the form of institutional arrangements and procedures that enhance movement of financial claims between and among two parties in financial transactions. These institutional procedures and processes are in the form such as Real Time Gross Settlements (RTGS), E-Zwich, Mobile Money, Visa, MasterCard among several others.
In the last few years, the telecommunication industry has embraced the use of modern technologies which has now put the globe in unison and the most prevalent of all is the mobile phone usage which is of a medium of over 5 billion subscribers’ worldwide (Wireless intelligence, 2012). The adoption of technologies among the telecommunication networks has led to a collaboration between the telecommunication industry, and the banking sector which has created a new avenue that enhance business undertakings and business development in economy. Precisely, the mobile money transfer services, which provides time independence, easiness and fastness to subscribers who save cost patronising the service (Lee and Kim, 2007). Within the last few years has witness a prevalent use of mobile phones in Ghana as mobile phone has been converted from being an extravagance that was limited to the few individuals to a wide number of people in the country patronising its usage which is positively affecting lives. It is believed that the number of mobile phones in the country are fall more than the entire population. It is now easy to have access to mobile phones than before and this is made possible due to the interaction among the regulatory authorities’ interventions, strong competition existing between the telecommunication firms and the amount of investments being made on daily basis to strengthen the sector by the industry actors. A Mobile phone is now an essential substance for growth and development especially in developing countries like that of Ghana. It is a key to Ghana’s development and therefore cannot be underestimated. While Mobile phone has not only made it easy for people to connect with one another and entertain themselves, it has also made it possible to transact financial dealings within the shortest possible of time, and that is the mobile money services. The mobile money services has led to the reduction of the amount of cash in the society thereby gradually helping to achieve the cashless society so desired by the financial regulators in the country.
Mobile Money Transfer has seen transmute outcome to the life of the rural unbanked, who are normally ignored by the traditional moneymaking banks in the country. Mobile money is an electronic cash transaction. Is available in most countries in the world especially in Africa. The mobile money service gives way to users to store money on their mobile phones, transfer and receive money to and from users who are connected to the mobile money platforms. The mobile money service also makes it possible for users to make payments online, or in a physical market transactions and makes it easy for users of the service to connect their bank accounts to the mobile money service to enjoy banking on real time basis. In Ghana, the mobile telecommunication networks are the operators of the mobile money service. The operators create an account through the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) of which the SIM number serves as the account number of the mobile money user. These services are normally classified as the electronic commence or trading. This makes mobile money service an alternative to the traditional banking system especially to the rural unbanked who are always almost neglected by the traditional banks. Simply, the mobile money service is now a digital alternative to cash. Prospects are certainly great that mobile money services will built-up the financial sector to millions of unbanked Ghanaians, predominantly in the rural areas where people lack the basic access to the traditional financial services. But by the use of mobile phones, certain variety of vital financial service could be enjoyed which they hither to, have no access to. This can lead to low cost banking to a number of people who once enjoyed banking service at a relatively higher cost. GSMA’s Mobile Economy (2013) report shows over 2.5 billion of the world working population has zero contact to basic financial services for the undertaking of financial transactions such as savings, fund transfers and the borrowing of funds. Mobile money service delivers the potential of cumulative worth of payments system and increasing access to formal financial services by those who currently have no access to it. The rural unbanked population in Ghana has the great chance of being on the mobile money platform due to the ever increasing access to mobile phone services in the country. This makes it easy for millions of people to have access to safe and secured platforms to undertake financial transactions at relatively cheaper cost.
According to the Bank of Ghana (2018), the mobilized fund outside the banking system and through the use of mobile money services reached a record GH¢2.3 billion ending December 2017. This figure represents a progression of 84.6 percent over the December 2016 amount of GH¢1.3 billion. The fund mobilized are normally held by the mobile money partner banks in the country. The statistics also indicates that mobile money accounts holders are 23.95 million relative to 11.43 million bank accountholders as at end December 2017. This may be as a result of one person having more than one accounts with different telecommunication companies. The total worth of mobile money transactions also increased from GH¢78.5 billion on December 2016 to GH¢155.8 billion at end December 2017 showing a growth of 98.5 percent.
The mobile money services is therefore an avenue of bringing those with limited access to the traditional banking sector, those who are predominately in the rural areas on board the formal financial sector to have the benefits of the services such as money transfers, savings, loaning and paying bills at relatively cheaper cost.
Aker and Wilson (2013) in their work showed that, the bank of Ghana in its attempt to achieve a reasonably level of financial inclusion among the rural population introduced EZWICH a biometric credit card that can be used at ATM stands, payments of bills and online settlements. Apart from this, the telecommunication networks in the country have introduced the mobile money platform which has achieve its feet within Ghana’s financial system. This study therefore seeks to examine the factors influencing the adoption of mobile money services among the rural unbanked in Techiman North District.
1.2 Problem Statement
The GSMA 2014 report indicates that there were 255 mobile money service companies worldwide. Ghana is one of such countries with four telecommunication companies providing such services, with mobile phone infiltration attaining a level in surplus of 115%. The sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) features general financial inclusion realisation for all countries and the use of mobile money services is an appropriate machinery that has the potential to be the main drive towards achieving financial inclusion in the world. Financial inclusion is about providing financial services at a relatively cheaper cost to those who are neglected by the formal banking services or those who earns little income. Financial inclusion assist the nation in checking and regulating financial institutions in the country.
The gap in usage of financial services among the rural dwellers in Ghana and that of the people living in the cities are so huge and the central bank of Ghana has undertaken several reforms to ensure financial inclusion in the country so as to achieve a cashless society.
Most of these reforms are more of legal than product to fulfil such desires of financial inclusion and little has been achieved from the reforms. The World Bank reported in 2012 that only 30% of Ghana’s population have access to bank accounts. This may be as a results of the lack of confidence in the traditional banking system coupled with the frequent collapse of microfinance firms in the country. Also, most of the banks in the country are situated in the urban centres living the rural dwellers with little to no access to formal banking system. As indicated by Gbombe and Tomoya (2014), the relative concentration of banks in urban centres with limited rural penetration is one of the reasons why the rural folks have limited access to banking services. Techiman North District is characteristically rural in nature with no viable banking services even in the capital of the district, Tuobodum. The only financial service provider that cut across the district is the Brong Ahafo Catholic Society of Development (BACSOD) which serves as a microfinance institution in the district. This has led to an increase in the cost of financial transactions in the district with most of the inhabitants travelling to the Techiman Municipality to transact financial activities. Being relatively a new district and rural in nature, the traditional banks have neglected the area. This is more of discouraging to the people in the area who have no choice than to rely on the use of mobile money services to transact businesses, sending and receiving funds and making payments.
Making financial services accessible through the use of mobile phones is very essential for national development and growth. This is because of the large number of people in the country that have access to the mobile phones and embedding financial system with the mobile phone goes a long way to ensuring the attainment of financial inclusion in the country.
Study conducted by Baako (2016) in the Kasena/Nankana West district showed that, in spite of the vital role mobile money service deliver in savings and payments, there are still so many impediments that hinders consumers from enjoying the full benefits of the service. Some of the impediments identified in the study included insufficient funds from the agents, unreliable network, long procedure in undertaking transactions and lot of time spent at the premises of the mobile money agents due to the long queues. The innovativeness of the mobile money services therefore has the potential of growing the formal financial service sector and it is prudent to institute a comprehensive research on the factors that influence the adoption of the mobile money services in the Techiman North District. This study will consequently seeks to find out the factors to help fill the knowledge gap in the field of mobile money services and also find out whether the usefulness, easiness to use, cost and associated risk of usage have effects on the adoption of mobile money services in the District.
1.3 Objectives of the study
This research seeks to examine the factors influencing the adoption of mobile money services among the rural unbanked in Techiman North District. To achieve the general objective of the research, the specific objectives are:
1. To evaluate the influence of perceived usefulness (PU) on the adoption of mobile money services in the unbanked population in the Techiman North District.
2. To examine the influence perceived easiness of use (PEU) on the acceptance of mobile money services in the unbanked population in the Techiman North District.
3. To determine the cost of usage (COU) and its influence on the use of mobile money service among the rural unbanked in the Techiman North District.
4. To establish the joint contribution of the perceived Usefulness (AU), perceived easiness of use (AEU) and the cost of usage (COU) on the use of mobile money service among the rural unbanked in the Techiman North District.
1.4 Research Hypothesis
H1 perceived usefulness (PU) has a positive effect on the adoption of mobile money services
H2 perceived easiness of use (PEU) has a positive effect on the adoption of mobile money services.
H3 cost of usage (COU) has a negative significant effect on the adoption of mobile money service.
H4 perceived usefulness (PU), perceived easiness of use (PEU) and the Cost of usage (COU) jointly have a positive effect on the adoption of mobile money service among the rural unbanked in the Techiman North District.
1.5 Significance of the study
Several information and technologies have been explored in the past and mobile phone innovations is one of them. Mobile money service is one of the technologies in the mobile phone applications and has penetrated in both personal and business domain. The impact of this technology has made it possible for people to have access to financial transactions irrespective of their locations so far as there is a mobile telecommunication network.
The adoption rate of mobile money services differ from one society to the other since it is relatively a new enterprise in the country and this research will have a major role to play on mobile money adoption. Policymakers worldwide have acknowledged the rationale behind policies that geared towards achieving financial inclusion (IFC, 2011). Though there are enough literature on the adoption of mobile money services, several of them emphasis on the urban areas with little consideration given to the underprivileged areas that are typically excluded from the traditional banking system. Also, there is nothing significant that has been done on the factors influencing the adoption of mobile money service in the country. For example, Mensah-Nyame (2013), conducted a study on the importance of mobile money in the city of Accra. The study was basically on businesses that use MTN mobile money services in Accra district. Baako (2016) also conducted a study on the impact of mobile money in providing financial inclusion for the rural population of the Kasena/Nankana West District Of Upper East Region. This study therefore seeks to make meaningful contribution to the already existing literatures on mobile money adoption and how the mobile money service can help achieve financial inclusion for the unbanked population of the Techiman North District and the in the country at large. The study will make contribution to awareness on how mobile money services can be planned to enhance broader adoption of mobile money service in rural areas considered to have slow rate of adoption. With regards, the study will provide understanding on how the rural unbanked access financial services, how they patronise the services, and the benefits they gain from it by way of sending and receiving funds.
The study will provide understanding on the financial conduct of people who dwells in the rural areas and how the assume the factors that influence their adoption rate. The aftermaths and results of this study may be of significant assessment to the financial industry and to other academicians who are interested in the field of finance to know how people react to innovative financial services like that of the mobile money. Based on the factors influencing the adoption of mobile money services, the research may offer recommendations for financial institutions who would be interested in setting up branches in the district.
The outcome will also assist policy makers, Central Bank, financial institutions and development agencies to ascertain areas of interest to provide appropriate support as well as recognising avenues of collaborations with mobile money service providers to make the required interventions geared towards achieving financial inclusion for the rural unbanked through the use of the mobile money services. The outcome of the research can
be implemented by government and the various interested parties to assist them choose from the best options in adopting and refining the existing non-cash payment systems since a consistent and effective payment system is prudent in achieving a sustainable and reliable financial sector in the economy and also enhancing the reputation of the central bank.
1.6 Scope of the study and delimitations
The Techiman North District is among the twenty-seven district and municipalities in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana. The district is made up of sixty-four towns and villages with only five major towns namely; Tuobodum, the capital of the district, Krobo, Offuman, Aworowa and Buoyem. The district covers an area of 389.4km2 and most of the settlements are located along the main roads that is Techiman-Wenchi and Techiman Kintampo routes. The Techiman North District is predominately an agrarian community with most of the inhabitants engaging in subsistence farming with pretty few in trading. The District capital, Tuobodum has two banks namely, the GN bank and Nkoranza-Kwabre Rural Bank whiles the rest of the major towns have been deprived of any major financial institutions and this has motivated the researcher to consider the District as the choice of the study. For appropriation, the research will cover mobile phone users who are registered users of the mobile money service who do not have access to any formal banking service in the district and has resorted to the mobile phones for help. The study will focus on three variables which are the easiness of use of the mobile money service, the usefulness of the service and the cost of usage as these variables will determine the rate of adoption of the mobile money services is the district. Although they could be other variables influencing the adoption of mobile money service in the district, the study will concentrate on only the three variables.
The study will not focus on the adoption of mobile money services in businesses and will basically concentrate on the rural unbanked in the Techiman North District.
1.7 Organisation of the study
The whole study will be categorized into five chapters.
Chapter one will consist of the following; background to the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, significance of the study, scope of the study, limitations of the study and organization of the study. Chapter two will include theoretical framework, Conceptual framework, definitions of concepts such as financial inclusion, the unbanked population, literature review of existing works carried out by other researchers and a summary of the chapter. Chapter three will focus on the research methodology which will look at the study population, sample size and sampling techniques, research design, research instruments, pre-testing of instruments, data collection methods and the estimation strategies. The fourth chapter will be based on the results and discussions of findings, while chapter five will provide summary of the study, conclusions and policy recommendations of the study.