Digital financial services model for higher education institutions in Zambia

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Mulundano, Clarence
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The University of Zambia
Digital financial services (DFS) have become pivotal for the low income people and poor communities because they can be rolled out easily as opposed to commercial banks that need brick and mortar. Zambia has a number of DFS like Zoona which are serving low income people and poor communities. Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in Zambia are faced with a number of challenges related to the collection and management of students fees due to their dependence on few recommended commercial banks. Initially, HEI in Zambia used to receive student’s payments through their cashier by cash, check or electronic cards. However, there was a challenge with this mode of payment such that a number of accounts personnel were implicated in cases related to fraud and pilferages. The other alternative was to force students to pay through the bank by depositing directly into the HEI bank account for all tuition and non-tuition fees. On the contrary, this comes with its own challenges which include high bank charges and accessibility to the banking institutions. This work proposed mobile phone application based on the unstructured supplementary service data technology (USSD) in order to provide convenience to student mobile phone users. The study carried out a baseline study with the banks, student population and general users from Kaoma, Chongwe and Lusaka. The results showed that HEI in Zambia have made it mandatory for all students to pay all tuition and non-tuition fees through the commercial banks. The study results also revealed several challenges in the existing payment system of commercial banks and Higher education institutions in Zambia. From the study results, it was evident that students from Zambia’s HEI are usually inconvenienced in the current payment system. Based on these results, an optional mobile phone payment system model for students’ payment for non-tuition fees was proposed. The mobile phone payment system will provide convienience to users by providing bank services through the mobile phone application, real time information to principal users and the system host will generate income for HEI in Zambia.
Digital financial services--Zambia , Digital financial services--Higher education institutions---Zambia