Usage of mobile money services : a case of mobile network operator systems.

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Phiri , Mwiza Norina
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The University of Zambia
Mobile money which refers to the use of mobile phones to perform financial and banking functions has increasingly become popular in the world today. Not only has mobile money brought advantages of convenience, safe transactions, 24 hours access to its users, mobile money has also created a great revenue base for service providers. Zambia was one of the first countries in Africa where Mobile Money was launched. As early as 2001, various Zambian businesses including MNO began to provide mobile money services. By 2014, the Bank of Zambia announced that the number of mobile money accounts had exceeded the traditional bank account. Adoption of mobile services has been reported to be high however active usage has not followed. The purpose of this study is to investigate the usage of MNO mobile money services in Zambia. The study aims to determine the factors that affect the use of mobile money system and to determine way in which usage of MNO mobile money can be enhanced. The study adopted cross-sectional survey to collect quantitative data from users of mobile money services. It also included agents and service providers’ representatives from Airtel Money, MTN mobile money in Lusaka district of Zambia. Extending Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) framework, a self-administered questionnaire was prepared and circulated in Lusaka province. From the 200 questionnaires circulated, 112 useable questionnaires were returned (56% response rate) and subsequently analysed using SPSS and excel. The study findings revealed that usage of MNO mobile money services was generally low with 21.6 % monthly users compared to other comparable nations such as Kenya and Tanzania where usage is approximately over 50% monthly. It was found that there are significant challenges affecting market penetration, expansion and regular use of mobile money. The most prevalent challenge being limited acceptability of the service. Zambia has limited number of mobile money access and trading point compared to comparable countries such as Tanzania Kenya and Uganda. Only 2% of the contacted retailers accepted mobile money as a mode of payment and cash was the most predominately used medium of exchange. Other challenges include Liquidity problems for agents, unavailability of network coverage, regulations and system failures for mobile money payment systems Improving the MNO agent network, improving the liquidity of agents by partnering with more stable financial institutions, reduction of cross network transaction charges, improving the stability of network, training and information to users are necessary measures to increase usage, penetration and expansion of mobile phone money services.
Thesis of Master of Engineering in Information and Communication Technology Regulation, Policy and Management.