The study was to investigate the causes of the myriad problems confronting the LEAP project e-payment system in specific terms and also increase awareness of the benefits of electronic payment systems in general. Questionnaire was administered to beneficiaries of the project and District social workers of Ga South District Assembly. The questions were formulated around variables such as time, transportation cost, ease of service, and convenience, among other things, to demand responses and reaction on how to improve the operational effectiveness of LEAP through the deployment of appropriate technology and efficient management practices. The responses provided insightful foray into the operations of LEAP program, its challenges and how best it could be improved. Among other things the study accepted the Null hypotheses which stated that: (a) delay in fund disbursement was not a technological problem but rather a management problem; (b) offline technology cannot be an alternative medium for fund disbursement.
The Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) Program is a social cash transfer program which provides cash and health insurance to extremely poor households across Ghana to alleviate short-term poverty and encourage long term human capital development. The program was funded from general revenues of the Government of Ghana (50 percent), donations from DFID and a loan from the World Bank.(CPC.UNC, n.d.).
LEAP started a trial phase in March 2008 in all operational district assemblies and then began expanding gradually in 2009 and 2010. By July 2013, the program had reached over 70,000 households across Ghana with an annual expenditure of approximately USD20m.
The disbursement of the fund to the beneficiaries was done through the Municipal and District Assemblies. The following was the cash disbursement cycle:
‘ Printed payment schedules (referred to as vouchers), grouped by Communities and Districts, are physically delivered to the GPO HQ in Accra two weeks prior to payments date.
‘ The GPO posts the vouchers to the respective regional offices which in turn distribute the vouchers to the district offices.
‘ DSW makes a deposit of funds into the GPO HQ bank account that corresponds to the total amount to be disbursed.
‘ GPO HQ in turn transfers funds to the regional office Bank accounts.
‘ On receipt of funds, Regional offices inform the District offices of the targeted payment date. Cash is withdrawn from the regional bank accounts on payment day and in the company of a police official the cash, together with the voucher sheets are delivered to the district communities for disbursement at the local pay-point.
‘ On payday, the GPO postman in the presence of the local DSW officer and CLIC (Community LEAP Implementation Committee) members validate the identity of household caregivers and pays out the required amounts to them where an ink finger print is captured on the voucher sheet as receipt of funds.
‘ The DSW Officer countersigns the voucher sheet as the amount paid out to beneficiaries.
‘ The voucher sheets and balance of funds are then returned to the Regional GPO for reconciliation.
‘ Once the regional voucher sheets are collated and reconciled they are sent to the GPO HQ for further recompilation before such results are presented to DSW.
‘ DSW reconciles payments made and then captures every receipt of payment in the DSW single register manually per line item.
When the fund finally reaches the district in question the police is informed so as to provide escort for the distribution of the fund to the beneficiaries at a central point into the locality. The mode of distribution was prone to robbery and theft. Some of the beneficiaries outside the vicinity of the distribution will have to commute to the site for the distribution at an added cost to the beneficiaries.
This long, winding process no doubt, had many cost and risk implications for the programme.
Issues bordering on the number of beneficiaries and their locations, and the amount in question, accessibility, timeliness of fund disbursement and the cost of the disbursement of the fund were considered critical to the survival of the programme.
To overcome the bottlenecks that were associated with the implementation of this project, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGSCP) adopted e-payment system on a pilot basis in nine Districts to be implemented by three electronic payment service providers, MTN Ghana, Ghana Interbank Payments Systems Solutions (GIPSS) and Aya Technologies. It was expected to benefit 7,616 households in nine Districts in Ghana. (Rebecca Quaicoe-Duho Daily graphic, 2014).
E-Payment refers to the mode of payment which does not involve physical cash or money. In other words, any forms of cashless method which includes bill payment using the automated teller machines (ATM), credit and debit cards, payments via the Internet and so forth. (Noor Raihan Ab Hamid, 2013).
E payment system confers various benefits both to consumers as well as businesses. Noor Raihan Ab Hamid, (2013) analyses the benefit of e-payment from both consumer and merchant’s point of view. To the consumer, e-payment is convenient and time saving as opposed to the cash based system. From the merchants’ or service providers’ angle faster payment process is one of the key benefits. Sharing his perspective on the benefits of e-payment Cobb, (2005) stated that e-payment has a number of significant economic benefits apart from their convenience and safety. These benefits when maximized can go a long way in contributing immensely to economic development of a nation. He added that efficient safe and convenient electronic payments carry with them a significant range of macro-economic benefits. The impact of introducing electronic payments can be compared to using the gears on a bicycle. An efficient electronic payments system added to an economy kicks the economy into a higher gear. Add better-controlled consumer and business credit, and you notch up economic velocity even further. According to (Kumaga, 2010) automated electronic payments helps deepen bank deposits thereby increasing funds available for commercial loans ‘ a driver of all of overall economic activity.
While the high level of cash transactions create an opportunity for the electronic payment industry, it also imposes a cost on local economies. Cash has to be minted, securely trans-ported, counted and reconciled, kept securely and maintained for re-use time and time again. The per-payment cost is high, and will always remain high whereas the costs of electronic system are fixed. Once the infrastructure has been built, the costs per-transaction is very low (Kumaga, 2010).
When cardholders use their cards at the point of sale they are helping to keep money in the banking system. Electronic Payment System can help displace shadow economies, bring hidden transactions into the banking system and increase transparency, confidence and participation in the financial system. (Kumaga, 2010). This benefit will go a long way to address some taxation issues that bedevils a country like Ghana, thus helping to widen the tax net.
LEAP in Ghana is currently facing a number of challenges ‘ from funding to technological. Attempts to deal with an increasing nascent problem are being complicated by management, geographical, legal and political issues. As the implementers try to fashion out new measures to improve the system, new problems emerge. The introduction of the E-payment system to the LEAP project was to address the bottlenecks that plagued the manual payment system. However the E-payment system also has its own challenges. The problem this study will address is how the challenges that seek to threaten the survival of the rather good programme could be reduced if not eradicated completely.
1.2 Objective of Research
The objective of this study, therefore, is to investigate the causes of the myriad problems confronting the LEAP project and also increase awareness of the benefits of electronic payment systems.
1.3 The Significance Of The Study
Policy makers routinely assess the impact of the various social intervention programmes on the citizenry so as to help the government to plan its budget and revise its policies. Therefore, the study will be a good reference point for government and other policy makers to assess the impact of LEAP on the less privileged and vulnerable segment of the society.
Donor Agencies need information on the impact of various projects and policies they provide funding for. Therefore, this study will be a reference material to both donor and research institutions.
It will also help the ‘promoters’ to stick to or adopt the most appropriate technology for the implementation of the programme.
1.4 Research Question
1. What is the appropriate alternative technology that the management of LEAP should deploy to improve the efficiency of the programme?
2. How do appropriate management processes improve the efficiency of the project?
3. What are the political issues that underpin the successful implementation of LEAP?
4. How has the current state of available communication facilities affected the achievement of the project goals.
The following investigative questions are derived from the research questions, thus:
‘ To what extent is impersonation seen as a management deficiency capable of collapsing the programme’? How does delay in fund disbursement seen as management problem rather than technological problem’? How is security associated with phone handling seen as a threat to fund disbursement’? Why can’t off-line technology, as a medium of fund transmission, be an alternative to e-payment’? To what extent has the project assisted beneficiaries’? How has the adoption of MTN Mobile Money system affected the administration of the project.
H0: ?? = delay in fund disbursement is not technological problem but rather
HA: ‘?? delay in fund disbursement is a technological problem rather than
H0: ?? = off-line technology cannot be an alternative medium for fund
disbursement under LEAP.
HA: ‘?? off-line technology can be an alternative medium for fund disbursement
1.5 Definition of Terms
The following operational definitions shall be applicable to this research.
1. E-payment-Electronic payments are payments that are made directly to payee from your bank accounts using security features over the Internet to process the transactions.
2. Financial conditions- The status of a firm’s assets, liabilities and equity positions at a specific point in time, often described in a financial statement.
3. LEAP-The Ghanaian Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Program
4. CLIC Community LEAP Implementation Committee
5. DSW District Social Worker
6. GHIPSS- Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System
The growth of modern civilization hinges on payments. Systems of payment have substantially metamorphosed over time, from the stone age barter system, through to coins and to virtual payment ( Ferguson, 2008) Ejisi Volume 15
According to (Kumaga, 2010, p. 22) Electronic payments in most African countries is very limited in use or virtually absent. In most African countries the required groundwork, legal as well as the enabling regulatory framework for electronic payments are lacking (Taddesse & Kidan, 2005). Particularly, electronic-payments infrastructure such as internet and mobile networks are not widely accessible in Africa. Moreover, financial institutions are not adequately automated to enable e-banking and e-payment (Kumaga, 2010)
Electronic payments are financial transactions made without the use of paper documents such as cheques. Electronic payments include credit card, debit card, smart card, electronic-wallet, electronic-cash, e-cheques among others. E-payment systems have received different level of acceptance world over; some methods of electronic payments are highly accepted while others are quite low. (Rachna & Singh, 2013)
According to (Rachna & Singh, 2013) There are two types of payment systems as far as e-payment is concerned: Internet ‘Based payment system and Electronic Transaction-Based payment system
The use of electronic payments (e-payments) has expanded rapidly in recent years, thanks to technological innovation and falling costs in computing and telecommunications. The spread of electronic-payment usage vary unequally between countries partly due to differences in factors such as quality of regulatory framework and readiness of telecommunication groundwork. New payment services based on the Internet and mobile phones flourish in the advanced economies. The use of electronic payments in the marketplace for retail payments, including the Electronic Fund Transfer at Point-of-Sale (EFTPOS), E-banking, telephone banking, Internet banking, E-debit, and E-money, has become a common and well conventional practice in the advanced countries that have extensive and well developed telecommunication network and infrastructure. On the other hand, in the some of the developing economies the rate of development of e-payments appear to be less clear. (Hataiseree, n.d.)
2.1.1 mobile money
The definition of ‘mobile money’ varies across the industry as it covers a wide scope of overlapping applications. Mobile money is the services that allow electronic money transactions over a mobile phone. (Young, 2009) It is also referred to as mobile financial services, mobile wallet and mobile payment. In this research mobile money is defined as a broader term that includes all types of monetary transactions executed via mobile phones.
A wide range of mobile money applications have developed throughout the years. Some major groupings include:
Mobile banking which is the use of a mobile phone to remotely access a bank account, primarily for account balance checkup and bill payment services
Mobile money transfer (remittance) is a peer-to-peer application making use of a mobile phone to send money to relatives and friends, primarily across international borders
Mobile commerce (payment) is the use of a mobile phone to make financial transactions for either purchases or sales, remotely or on-site, retrieve promotion information or coupons, and deliver gift items.
Mobile financial services and mobile commerce are not new concepts in the telecom industry. Mobile network operators started exploring the concept of mobile payments in 2000 with little success. Recent advances in handset functionality, chip and mobile network know-hows, and upgrades to point-of-sale infrastructure have however dramatically improved the environment for mobile money solutions, bringing together different industry groups, such as banks and operators. (Young, 2009)
According to an analysis by Ernest and young 2009, there are five key enablers to successful delivery of mobile money and e payment adoption for that matter as shown by Figure 1 Key enablers driving the delivery of mobile money.
Key enablers driving the delivery of mobile money
Figure 1 Key enablers driving the delivery of mobile money
Source: Ernest & Young analysis
Key enablers driving the delivery of mobile money
Ernest and Young identifies the delisted as the main enabler for successful delivery of money: Technology, market , regulation, risk and infrastructure
2.1.2 Challenges of Electronic Payments
Electronic payments despites it numerous benefits comes with its own challenges even in the developed world. The identified challenges as revealed by previous research works are infrastructure, security, regulatory and legal issues and socio-cultural challenges.
The Security of Information and data is critical in all Information systems. Information security is the practices, procedures as well as technology put in place which ensure that information is protected from alteration or accidental change (integrity), unauthorized access (confidentiality), and is readily available (availability) to authorized users on request.
An unsecured e-payment system may not get trust from its users. Trust is very important to ensure acceptance from users. According to (Worku, 2010) , e-payment and e-banking applications represent a security challenge as they highly depend on critical ICT systems that create susceptibilities in financial institutions, businesses and potentially harm clients. It is vital for banks to understand and address security concerns in order to leverage the potential of ICTs in delivering e-banking applications (Worku, 2010). A secure electronic financial transaction has to meet the following requirements:
220.127.116.11.1.1 Integrity and Authorisation
Integrity is defined as the accurateness, completeness and validity of information in accordance with business values and expectations (CISM Review Manual, 2006). In other words integrity of payment systems means that no money is taken from a user unless he authorizes a payment. In addition, users might require not receiving any payment without their explicit consent; this is desirable when users want to avoid uncalled-for bribery. (Asokan et al, 2000)
Confidentiality according to (CISM Review Manual, 2006) is the protection of sensitive or private information from unauthorized disclosure. Some parties involved may wish confidentiality of transactions. Confidentiality as far as this research is concerned is the restriction of the knowledge about various pieces of information related to a deal; the identity of persons involved, content of items bought, monetary value etc. Mostly, parties to transactions want to ensure that communications are private (Asokan et al, 2000). Where parties wants to ensure that the transaction so taken is anonymous or untraceable, the requirement may be to limit this knowledge to certain subsets of the members only (Asokan et al, 2000).
18.104.22.168.1.3 Availability and Reliability
One of the main features of a secured system is the assurance that information will be readily available as and when it is needed. The information so retrieved should also be very reliable to aid in making of decision. (Asokan, et al., 2000) sees availability making sure that information systems and data are ready for use when the need arises. Availability demonstrate as the percentage of time that an information system can be used for productive work.
Reliability on the one hand is the decision usefulness of the information.
22.214.171.124.1.4 Enhancing E-payments Security
According to (Taddesse & Kidan, 2005), cryptographic based technologies such as encryption and digital signatures are the most common method of securing e-payments. The application of these technologies however reduces speed and efficiency which is the hall mark of e-payment system in relation to the manual system of payment. In this regard a compromise will have to be made between efficiency and security. Under listed are some of the technological means to secure e-payments:
‘ Secure Electronic Transaction (SET): This is an open standard developed by Master Card and Visa to provide a solution to security problems for online credit card payment system (Ullah, 2010). This is achieved by providing digital certificate for both customer and merchant. According to (Taddesse & Kidan, 2005), this was not accepted because it was complicated and required both customer and merchant to download and install 5MB of software.
‘ 3D Secure is Visa alternative to SET. The 3D does not require certificate to authenticate (Ullah, 2010).
‘ Smart Card Security: Data stored on a smart card is encrypted and cannot be read without password/ PIN and this provides strong security. Taddesse & Kidan( 2005) is of the opinion that magnetic strip cards like debit cards, credit cards etc are being replaced by smart cards.
Proper policies, procedures and suitable Government laws must also be put in place to warrant technologies provide maximum security. For security to work in the E-payment environment support from Government is very essential.
Infrastructure is necessary for the successful implementation of e-payments. Proper groundwork for electronic payments is a challenge. (Taddesse & Kidan, 2005) For electronic payments to be successful there is the need to have reliable and cost effective infrastructure that can be retrieved by majority of the population.
Electronic payments communication groundwork includes computer network such as the internet and mobile network used for mobile phone. Additionally, banking activities and processes need to be automated. A network that links banks and other financial institutions for clearing and payment confirmation is a key requirement for electronic payment systems. (Taddesse & Kidan, 2005)
Mobile network and Internet are readily available in the developed world and users usually do not have problems with communication arrangement. In Africa, however, mobile networks and internet are not easily available. ‘Poor communication infrastructure is one of the reasons hindering the e-payment system in Africa’ (Elizabeth Agyeiwaah, 2014). According to (Worku, 2010) low level of internet permeation and poorly developed telecommunication infrastructure obstruct smooth improvement and developments in electronic commerce in Ethiopia. A study by Microfinance Nigeria showed that efforts by the Nigerian government and other financial and ICT stakeholders to move Nigeria’s payment system from a cash-based platform to the globally acceptable electronic-driven alternative may be hindered by absence of critical telecommunication infrastructure. In emerging countries many of the rural areas are unbanked and lack access to critical infrastructure that drives electronic payments. According to (Microfinance Policy Framework for Nigeria, 2011), some of the debit cards technologies like Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are still seen by many as unreliable for financial transactions as stories told by people suggested that they could lose their money through fraudulent deductions, debits and other lapses for which the technology had been associated with by many over the last few years.
In a related work, by (Mishra, 2008) in Nepal, Telecommunication and electricity are not available throughout the country, which adversely impact on the development of electronic-payments. Mishra further reiterated that the development of information and communication technology is a major challenge for e-payments development. Since ICT is in its infant stages in most developing countries, the country faces difficulty endorsing e-payment development.
126.96.36.199 Regulatory and Legal issues
National and international set of laws, rules and other regulations are essential requirements for the successful operation of e-payment schemes. Some of the major elements include rules on money laundering, supervision of commercial banks and electronic money institutions by supervisory bodies, payment system oversight by central banks, data and consumer protection, cooperation and competition issues. (Taddesse & Kidan, 2005). According to (Taddesse & Kidan, 2005) the virtual and global nature of e-payment also raises legal questions such as which jurisdiction will be competent and about applicable laws in disputed cases, validity of electronic contracts and electronic signature. A legal and regulatory structure that builds trust and confidence supporting technical efforts is an important issue to be addressed in implementing e-payments. As indicated by (Worku, 2010), absence of appropriate legal and regulatory framework for e-payment in Ethiopia, an African country is a challenge. According to (Worku, 2010) Ethiopian current laws do not accept electronic contracts and e-signatures. Ethiopia has not yet enacted legislation that deals e-payments and e-commerce concerns including enforceability of the legitimacy of electronic contracts, digital signatures and intellectual copyright and restrict the use of encryption technologies. In a related work, Mishra (2008) argues that no laws and regulations have been propagated to cover the legal status and issues of e-payments. This matter has been given high priority and a legal framework is expected soon (Mishra, 2008)
National regulatory and legal framework that aligns with regional and international agreements is crucial in creating a certain and reliable environment (Taddesse & Kidan, 2005).
Adopting model laws at the global level such as UNCITAL Model law on e-signatures (2001) can help the purpose.
188.8.131.52 Socio-Cultural Challenges
Cultural and historical differences in attitudes and the use of different forms of money (e.g. use of credit card in North America and use of debit cards in Europe) complicate the task of developing an electronic payment system that is applicable at international level (Taddesse & Kidan, 2005). According to Taddesse & Kidan (2005), difference in the degree of the required security and efficiency among people of different cultures and level of development aggravates the problem.
Consumer’s confidence and trust in the traditional payments system has made customers less likely to adopt new technologies. New technologies will not dominate the market until customers are confident that their privacy will be protected and adequate assurance of security is guaranteed. (Taddesse & Kidan, 2005). New technologies also requires the test of time in order to earn the confidence of the people, even if it is easier to use and cheaper than older methods.
(Rachna & Singh, 2013) Also see the challenges of e-payment to be lack of usability, Lack of security, Issues with e Cash and Lack of trust
184.108.40.206 Lack of Usability
According to (Rachna & Singh, 2013, p. 27) Electronic payment system requires large amount of information from end users or make transactions more difficult by using complex elaborated websites interfaces. For example credit card payments through a website are not easiest way to pay as this system requires large amount of personal data and contact details in web form.
220.127.116.11 Lack of Security
Online payment systems for the internet are an easy target for stealing money and personal information. Customers have to provide credit card and payment account details and other personal information online. This data is sometimes transmitted in an un-secured way, (Kalakota & Whinston, 1997 ). Providing these details by mail or over the telephone also entails security risks (Guttman, 2003, Laudon and Traver, 2002)
18.104.22.168 Issues with e-Cash acceptability
The main problem of e-cash is that it is not universally accepted because it is necessary that the commercial establishment accept it as payment method. Another problem is that when we makes payment by using e-cash, the client and the salesman have accounts in the same bank which issue e-cash. The payment is not valid in other banks.
22.214.171.124Lack of Trust
Electronic payments have a long history of fraud, misuse and low reliability as well as it is new system without established positive reputation. Potential customers often mention this risk as the key reason why they do not trust a payment services and therefore do not make internet purchases (Lietaer, 2001)
2.2.0 Challenges of Electronic payments in Africa
In a research work by (Taddesse & Kidan, 2005), the following have been identified as barriers for the introduction, adoption and growth of Electronic payments in the African Context:
‘ Most banks in Africa do not deliver credit cards. People usually have to open bank account outside the continent in order to get a credit card.
‘ Behavioural constraints: The fact that African Society is cash-based, people are accustomed to using cash for most of their transactions.
‘Attitudes of Banks: African banks are very unadventurous; they use very few innovative products and marketing techniques.
‘ Lack of confidence in the system: Security issue is one of the major challenges in the development of e-payments in Africa.
In a related study by Worku(2010), under listed are some of the challenges Ethiopia faces in implementing electronic payments and electronic banking:
‘ Low level of internet penetration and ill developed telecommunication hinder smooth development and improvement in e-payments and e-commerce.
‘ Lack of suitable legal and regulatory structure for e-payments: current laws do not accommodate electronic contracts and signatures.
‘ Inadequate banking system
‘ Economic and political volatilities in neighbouring countries: Political fluxes certainly disturb smooth operations of business and free flow of goods and services.
‘ High rates of illiteracy: Lower literacy rate is a serious obstacle to adoption of e-payments as it hinders the accessibility of banking services. To fully enjoy the benefits of e-payments, citizens should not only know how to read and write but also have basic ICT literacy.
High cost of Internet: The cost of Internet access in relation to per capita income is a critical factor. Compared to developed countries, there are higher costs of entry into the e-payments and e-commerce market. These include high start-up investments costs, high costs of computers and telecommunication and licensing requirements.
‘ Frequent power interruption: Lack of reliable power supply is a key challenge for smoothly running e-payments and e-banking
‘ Resistance to changes in technology among customers and staff due to: Lack of awareness on the benefits of new technologies, Fear of risk, Lack of trained personnel in key organisations, tendency to be content with the existing structures and People may be resistant to new payment mechanism.
According to (Microfinance Policy Framework for Nigeria, 2011), urban dwellers are not receptive to the efforts of ICT investors to migrate payment system through substantial investments in crucial infrastructure like Point of Sale (POS) terminal in thousands of supermarkets, fuel stations, hotels, recreational centres and many others.
(Ofori-Dwumfour & Dankwah, 2013). It has been generally argued that electronic banking makes it easier for customers to compare banks’ services and products and increase competition among banks, which allows banks to penetrate new markets and thus expand their geographical reach. For some scholars, electronic banking is an opportunity for countries with underdeveloped financial systems to launch into developmental stages (Bassey, 2008).
2.3.0 Benefits of Electronic Payments
According to a study by (Fiallos & Wu), the advent of the internet has taken electronic payments and transactions to a different height. Consumers could purchase goods from the internet and send unencrypted credit card numbers across the network, which did not provide much security and privacy. But a wide variety of new secure network payments schemes have been developed as consumers became more aware of their privacy and security.
Digital money has significant benefits for financial institutions, banks and merchants (Fiallos & Wu, 2005).
Digital Money is an electronic payment technology, which can provide anonymous flexible electronic payment, like paper cash, but with added security requirements needed for internet transactions. In a related work by (Lee, et. Al, 2003), a secure electronic cash system can guarantee anonymity of legitimate users but also provides traceability about illegally issued cash or laundered money. If illegal activity did take place, it can cancel anonymity of the digital cash in order to protect the bank (Lee, et. Al , 2004) added that since digital money can trace double spending, and double spending protects content by exposing the double spender’s identity, digital cash is a fool proof way of guarding against illegal redistribution of intellectual property and materials. Digital Money can also be used to deter illegal content copying and distribution by inserting tracing content factors into the digital cash payment scheme that prevents users from individual replication activity (Lee, et. al.,2004). By using this function, legal, anonymous purchasers can spread contents to other paying anonymous users while abiding by copyright laws. Using digital money in industries like digital entertainment can increase the demand for products through easier and safer dissemination channels. Digital Money can trace who is illegally reproducing and distributing copyrighted intellectual material, therefore increasing security for authors and at the same time deterring lost revenue and sales for digital media entertainment companies (Lee, et. al., 2004).
Digital Media entertainment, as well as intellectual property providers and distributors, can also implement this technology and its safety features in order to ensure greater copyright compliance between consumers (Fiallos & Wu, 2005). By adopting such a method of payment and distribution, software and intellectual property piracy can be halted and eventually eliminated.
Digital Money can provide financial institutions with decentralized structures, faster transaction and decision making processes, and more cost effective ways of doing business. (Fiallos & Wu).
Electronic Payments as argued by (Cobb, 2005) have a significant number of economic benefits apart from their convenience and safety. These benefits when maximized can go a long way in contributing immensely to economic development of a nation.
Automated electronic payments help deepen bank deposits thereby increasing funds available for commercial loans ‘ a driver of all of overall economic activity. According to (Cobb, 2005), efficient safe and convenient electronic payments carry with them a significant range of macro-economic benefits. The impact of introducing electronic payments is akin to using the gears on a bicycle. Add an efficient electronic payments system to an economy, and you kick it into a higher gear. Add better-controlled consumer and business credit, and you notch up economic velocity even further.(Cobb, 2005)
While the high level of cash transactions creates an opportunity for the electronic payment industry, it also imposes a cost on local economies. Cash has to be minted, securely transported, counted and reconciled, kept secure and maintained for re-use time and time again. The per-payment cost is high, and will always remain high whereas the costs of electronic system are fixed. Once the infrastructure has been built, the costs per-transaction is very low (Cobb, 2005).
When cardholders use their cards at the point of sale they are helping to keep money in the banking system. EPS can help displace shadow economies, bring hidden transactions into the banking system and increase transparency, confidence and participation in the financial system. (Cobb, 2005).
As also mentioned by (Al Shaikh, 2005), there is a correlation between increase in point of sales volumes and rise in demand deposits. ‘Automated electronic payments act as a gateway into the banking sector and as a powerful engine for growth. Such payments draw cash out of circulation and into the bank accounts, providing low cost funds that can be used to support bank lending for investment a driver of overall economic activity. The process creates greater transparency and accountability, leading to greater efficiency and better economic performance’ (Al Shaikh, 2005).
In a similar narrative by (Hord, 2005) electronic payment is very convenient for the consumer. In most cases, you only need to enter your account information — such as your credit card number and shipping address once. The information is then stored in a database on the retailer’s Web server. When you come back to the Web site, you just log in with your username and password. ‘Completing a transaction is as simple as clicking your mouse: All you have to do is confirm your purchase and you’re done’ (Hord, 2005).
Over the same two decades, $C 60 billion of the increase in Personal Consumption Expenditures was directly attributable to electronic payments, with credit card holding a commanding share of this growth ($C 49.4 billion) over debit cards ($C 10.4 billion). (Visa Canada, 2004).
According to (Ackorlie,2009), Ghana has lagged way behind most of the world (including many of its peers in Africa) in the general quest to boost micro economic activity by reducing the role played by physical cash in daily transactions and by encouraging the creation of a cashless society.
However, experts in the financial sector have stressed that unless something radically innovative, functional and savvy is introduced, which accounts for attitudes as well as the huge un-banked population, the country’s dream of building a functionally cashless society in the shortest possible time could be elusive (Ackorlie, 2009). (Kumaga, 2010)
2.4.0 Technology types in e-payment systems
According to (Kumaga, 2010) E-Payment can be performed on-line, involving an authorization server (usually as part of the issuer or acquirer) in each payment, or off-line, without contacting any third party during payment.
The obvious problem with off-line payments is how to prevent payers from spending more money than they actually possess. In a purely digital world, a dishonest payer can easily reset the local state of his system after each payment to the state before the payment. Therefore off-line payment systems that prevent double spending require tamper-resistant Hardware, such as smart cards at the payer end (Asokan, et al., 2000)Often, tamper resistant hardware, such as security modules of point-of-sale (POS) terminals, is also used at the payee end ‘ it is mandatory in the case of shared-key systems and in cases where the payee does not forward individual transactions but only totals.
On-line systems obviously require more communication, but not necessarily tamper-resistant hardware (Asokan, et al., 2000). In general, they are considered more secure than off-line systems.
Given the level of infrastructural development as far as ICT is concerned, coupled with the erratic nature of power supply in Ghana an of line method will be more suited for developing countries like Ghana
2.5.0 E Payment and the unbanked
According to (Kumaga, 2010)) as many as 80 per cent of Ghana’s population neither has nor operate a bank account, although the majority of the “un-banked” are economically active in either the formal or informal sectors of the economy (Ackorlie, 2009). This is the case for most African and developing nations. (Anderson-Porisch, 2006) explains the unbanked to be the person who does not have a current or savings account .
Some of the reasons for the unbanked in the United states of America were enumerated by Anderson- Porisch to be:
‘ Lack of understanding of the banking system and expectations for having a bank account
‘ Past negative banking experience
‘ Lack of appropriate identification and/or documentation needed to open a bank account
‘ Unstable living situation
‘ Cultural conflict including bank practices that varies with personal beliefs.
(Kumaga, 2010) quoted Visa and Global Insight as saying, more than two billion individuals age 15 and over are unbanked. According to (Commonwealth Business Council & Visa, 2004) Electronic payment systems can help the unbanked join the banking system with significant benefits to them and to their societies .
‘The Mystery of Capital’ by Hernando de Soto mentioned that a large percentage of business assets held in the informal economy of many developing countries reduce the size and productive capacity of their total official economies. In a similar way, a cash based society is a diminished society. The informal economy runs on cash outside of the banking and official economic systems. When cash remains outside the banking system, the possibilities for supplying productive capital to the economy are muted. (Commonwealth Business Council & Visa, 2004). Data from Global insight indicates a direct correlation between a specified shift of currency into lendable reserves and increases in GDP. Bringing cash into the banking system generates an equal increase in bank reserves, enabling banks to facilitate more consumer and commercial loans, thereby stimulating business growth and consumption. The total value of the loans is several times that of the original deposits. Global insight estimates this to 10 to 15 times the amount of the deposit.
2.6.0 E-payment System and Economic Development
The development of the nation depends on the revenue that are generated from tax system of a nation. Ghana like most developing countries is battling with revenue mobilization from the informal sector in this regard E-payment system will go a long way to improve revenue mobilisation from the informal sector and hence boost the economy as a whole.
The emergence of credit, debit and prepaid card systems gives the unbanked an important option for bringing cash into the formal economy. Prepaid cards are particularly interesting, because the funds are actually on deposit at a regulated financial institution, but the process of establishing and managing accounts is much more cost effective and less risky that traditional debit accounts for smaller levels of deposit (Commonwealth Business Council & Visa, 2004).
(Anderson-Porisch, 2006) argued that technology provides the opportunities to transition the unbanked population into a banking relationship. According to her paper, ‘the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 required that recurring federal benefit payments be made electronically through electronic funds transfer (EFT) as a low-cost account for those who cannot qualify for or afford a checking account. As a result, there has been an increase in people using this option for receiving federal benefits.
Hord (2005) further accentuates the fact that electronic payment lowers costs for businesses. The more payments that is processed electronically, the less money is spent on paper and postage. Offering electronic payment can also help businesses improve customer retention. A customer is more likely to return to the same e-commerce site where his or her information has already been entered and stored . (Hord, 2005) This also affirms the confidence level of the customer as far as dealing with the site is concerned.
Cobb, (2005), sees electronic payments as having the potential of bringing down transaction cost, enhancing higher consumption and Gross Domestic Product. E-payment can also increase government efficiency, boost financial intermediation and improve financial transparency. Cobb further added that Governments play a critically important role in creating an environment in which these benefits can be achieved in a way consistent with their own economic development plans.
(Humphrey, et al., 2002)also support the fact the introduction and use of electronic payment instruments holds the promise of broad benefit to both business and consumers in the form of reduced costs, greater convenience and more secure, reliable means of payment and settlement for a potentially vast range of goods and services offered worldwide over the internet or other electronic networks. One such benefit is that electronic payments enable bank customers to handle their daily financial transactions without having to visit their local bank branch. Electronic payments products could save merchants time and expense in handling cash (Appiah & Agyemang, 2007).
According to (Humphrey, et al., 2002)the resource cost of a nation’s payment system can account for 3 percent of its GDP. Since most electronic payments cost only about one-third to one-half as much as paper-based non-cash payment, it is obvious that the social cost of a payment system could be considerably reduced if it is automated (Appiah & Agyemang, 2007). Automating and streamlining electronic payments made from self-serve channels such as ATMs, branch office terminals and point-of-sale (POS) systems can reduce paper-based errors and costs.
A research work carried out by Visa Canada Association in collaboration with Global Insight revealed that electronic payments provide transactional efficiency to consumers, merchants, banks and the economy. Electronic payments have contributed $C 107 billion to the Canadian economy since 1983 and represents nearly 25% of the $C 437 billion cumulative growth in the Canadian economy over the same period.
The Commonwealth Business Council also argues that payroll, pension and benefit cards can be effective entry-level instruments for banking and subsequent mainstream financial services- and they allow a greater proportion of funds to remain within the banking system until they are spent.
Teenagers and young adults are often ineligible to open a bank account. But because of employment, stipends or transfers from their parents or guardians, they may possess a sizeable amount of money. Prepaid card products for young people can teach them vital money skills, while keeping their funds in the banking system. One such solution is a re-loadable prepaid card that features financial literacy tools and allows parents or guardians to monitor transactions online (Commonwealth Business Council & Visa, 2004). This has been used in the US, Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Indonesia and Jordan. In Ghana the government is considering using the E-zwich for payment of student’s loan and national service allowance.
In an attempt to make populace who are not into banking to have dealings with the bank, financial institutions could issue prepaid cards to customers, including those who currently do not have a banking relationship, enabling them to receive funds safely and conveniently. Depending on the type of card, recipients can withdraw cash at an ATM or buy goods and services at merchants (Commonwealth Business Council & Visa, 2004). In developing countries, remittances represent one of the primary source of foreign exchange and contribute significantly to consumer spending. Ghana being a developing country is no exception. For example, foreign remittances to Nicaragua are estimated to total nearly 30% of GDP (Inter-American Development bank, 2004). However the majority of these remittances are held in physical cash and for that matter is in circulation within the informal economy and therefore being kept outside the banking system. These remittances do not contribute as strongly to formal economic growth as they could. Prepaid cards described above can help resolve this issue.
(According to Ackorlie, 2009) the active population is now hurting under the burden of the inconveniences and constrictiveness of having to endure heavy, cumbersome and usually unsafe cash-based payments in their day-to-day affairs and transactions.
The use of any electronic transaction as a common platform for the financial sector would reduce physical circulation of cash.
The use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) products to simplify and speed up financial transactions has become part of everyday life in the developed world, but the developing world is yet to reap the full benefit that comes with e-payment system. (Ackorlie, 2009).
The use of the electronic transactions system to do business is indeed not common in Africa. In the advanced economies, physical circulation of cash is limited because most people use electronic means to buy and pay for goods and services. The physical handling of money currencies is therefore reduced and the advantage here is that the government does not spend huge sums of money to print new currencies to replace worn out ones.
2.7.0 Forms of E-payment systems in Ghana.
Introduced in April 2008, the E-Zwich smart card has been operational since then and seeks to reduce the risk at which ATM card theft was on the ascendancy a while ago. The Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (GHIPSS) Limited, an establishment of the Bank of Ghana, is the issuer of the E-Zwich smart card. E-Zwich is the brand name for the common platform (the National Switch) that links the payment systems of all banks, savings and loans and rural banks in Ghana (Haruna, 2012, p. 2), p. 1). (Elizabeth Agyeiwaah, 2014)
2.7.2 MTN Mobile Money
MTN Mobile Money uses Fundamo’s STK based technology which is considered the most secure mobile payments technology standard because all SMS communication from the SIM card is encrypted using 3DES encryption. While the Mobile Money registration menu is pre-loaded to all new MTN SIM cards, upon successful registration the full banking menu is loaded ‘over the air’ to the SIM card. The benefits of STK technology do come at a price. STK menu loading ‘over the air’ is notoriously unreliable and this was experienced by the consultants whom themselves registered for the service. Having the Mobile Money menu on the SIM/Phone is a positive feature of the technology because it allows for a relatively intuitive usage of the features.
Customers in such countries can access services more easily from banks abroad and through wireless communication systems, which are developing more rapidly than traditional “wired” communication networks (Khan & Karim, 2010).
2.8.0 LEAP reviews
2.8.1 Social pprotection
Social protection is defined by the International Labour Organization (ILO, 2006) as the set of public measures that a society provides for its members to protect them against economic and social distress that would be caused by the absence or a substantial reduction of income from work as a result of various contingencies (sickness, maternity, employment injury, unemployment, invalidity, old age, and death of the breadwinner); the provision of health care among others. Depending on the number of individuals or households that are simultaneously affected, risks are either idiosyncratic (individual) or covariate (aggregate) (World Bank 2000). (Joha, 2012)
There are a number of success stories from other countries including Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and Mexico among others provided the impetus for adopting social grants (also known as cash transfer) schemes as a mechanism for addressing extreme poverty in Ghana. Cash transfers have been proven to contribute immensely to the achievement of the totality of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in these countries (MMYE, 2007).
The LEAP programme started in 2008 with 1,640 beneficiaries. As of June 2014, the beneficiary households had increased to 73,047 across the country.
Through the programme, the government assists the poorest families with basic needs, including food and improved health.
People who qualify under the programme include orphans, vulnerable children, the aged and the elderly from 65 years upwards and severely disabled persons who cannot work.
Under the programme, a household with one beneficiary is expected to receive GH??48, two beneficiaries receive GH??60, three beneficiaries GH??72 and four or more receive GHc90 every two months. (Asare, 2015)
2.8.2 Principles of Cash Transfers Under the LEAP project
According to DFID Cash Transfer Literature Review 2012 cash transfers should be guided by the following principles:
‘ Cash transfer should be very predictable both in time and amount to be received: ‘help delayed is help denied’. The amount of money and the time of collection should be predictable so that beneficiaries will be able to plan their lives and those of their dependents. Where cash transfers are linked to children’s education and health, it must be noted these needs cannot be postponed, and unpredictable transfers just aggravate the condition of children who needs the help.
‘ Per unit cost should be very minimal to make the option cost efficient to the implementers and should not build more cost for the beneficiary. Any cash transfer program, to the extent possible should get close to the beneficiary to avoid beneficiaries paying heavily for transportation and other expenses to have access to their money
‘ It should make use of existing local financial infrastructures to avoid heavy subsidy in operationalization
‘ Again the distance involved for beneficiaries to access their cash should be less time consuming for the beneficiary. Beneficiaries should not spend too much time on to and from cash collection point, and time spent at the collection point should equally be reasonable such that beneficiaries who can engage other economic activities will be able to continue their activities uninterrupted.
‘ Efficient use of labor: too many hands should not be involved so as render the option less efficient
‘ Should not leave loopholes for fraud: Transferring liquid cash to beneficiaries involves a huge risk. The possibility of the money going into the hands of unintended end-users/beneficiaries (herein called fiduciary risk) is high. It is therefore a high priority to minimize the risk of money going into wrong hands.
2.8.3 Characteristics of LEAP Manual Payment through Ghana Post Company
LEAP currently employs the services of Ghana Post as its payment agency. In reality, the expected 6 payment cycles per year have not been implemented in full since the inception of the program, although the frequency of payments has seen some recent improvement (cash was delivered on 2 occasions in 2011 and 4 times in 2012). When payments are missed, they are either postponed (done later and separately) or they are added to a future process and delivered in lump sums (paid as arrears).
An assessment done for World Bank by (Kilfoil, 2010), established that the payments processes handled by the Ghana Post Office (GPO) is purely manual and thus demands lengthy lead times of over two calendar weeks, three days for actual payments to be made and thereafter one or two months for reconciliation.
1. Printed payment schedules (referred to as vouchers), grouped by community districts, are physically delivered to the GPO HQ in Accra two weeks prior to payments occurring.
2. The GPO posts the vouchers to the respective regional offices which in turn distribute the vouchers to the district offices.
3. DSW makes a deposit of funds into the GPO HQ bank account that corresponds to the total amount to be disbursed.
4. GPO HQ in turn transfers funds to the regional office Bank accounts
5. On receipt of funds, Regional offices inform the District offices of the targeted payment date. Cash is withdrawn from the regional bank accounts on payment day and in the company of a police official the cash, together with the voucher sheets are delivered to the district communities for disbursement at the local pay-point.
6. On payday, the GPO postman in the presence of the local DSW officer and CLIC (Community LEAP Implementation Committee) members validate the identity of household caregivers and pays out the required amounts to them where an ink finger print is captured on the voucher sheet as receipt of funds.
7. The DSW Officer countersigns the voucher sheet as the amount paid out to beneficiaries.
8. The voucher sheets and balance of funds are then returned to the Regional GPO for reconciliation.
9. Once the regional voucher sheets are collated and reconciled they are sent to the GPO HQ for further recompilation before such results are presented to DSW.
10. DSW reconciles payments made and then captures every receipt of payment in the DSW single register manually per line item
After five years of implementation, an assessment by UNICEF in 2011, on manual payment through GPO identified a lot of challenges. Specific findings with regards to challenges in the payment cycle include the following:
Inefficient financial systems and processes: The process of reconciliation and liquidation after payments is inefficient, slow and completed at irregularly defined intervals. Liquidations are done manually at district, regional and national levels, thus the process takes over a month to complete. Consequently, reports and liquidations arrive late at the LMU, and delay the start of the following payment cycle – this does not allow the LEAP program to provide the payments on regular and predictable basis. Indeed on some occasions, DSW has had to begin subsequent payments without processing the previous payment’s liquidations, and while this was done in the interest of the beneficiaries, it is not ideal for the financial viability of the program and for the arrangement for fund transfers with donors.
Low Geographic penetration of Payment Agency: Ghana Post was selected as the payment agency because of its nationwide coverage and decentralized structure, especially at the district and sub-district level. However, in practice, Ghana Post’s regional offices directly distributed cash to the beneficiary households, bypassing its decentralized network. In doing so, the Ghana Post was not using the network’s comparative advantage, as the same human and logistical resources single-handedly covered all the districts and communities within that region.
Joint DSW-Ghana post distribution of cash transfers: Although the DSW has contracted Ghana Post to deliver cash payments, DSW district officers have to accompany Ghana Post officers to deliver cash to all beneficiaries. This is an inefficient use of time and resources for DSW.
High program costs: The possibility of delivering cash to extremely poor and vulnerable households at a relatively low cost is one of the reasons why Social Cash Transfers (SCT) program are being implemented in many developing countries. The current costs per head of delivering the cash to beneficiaries, as compared to international standards, are high under the manual payment system.
Inadequate security: The security of the resources to be delivered to the beneficiaries is not always guaranteed. Cash has to travel long distances before it is delivered to the beneficiaries. LEAP’s Operational Manual states that a police officer should be part of the payment team to ensure the safety of the officers as well as the security of the money transfer. However, the capacity of the Ghana Police to support the payment mechanism in all the LEAP communities on bi-monthly basis is limited.
Inconvenient Payment conditions and verification of beneficiary households: The travel distance and transportation cost for the beneficiaries during payments are currently not standardized. In addition, conditions relating to the waiting areas and time, queuing (especially under the sun or the rain) and crowds management are unclear and unenforced. This opens up the possibility that some poor families could be put under undue strain during payments. The issue of the identity of the person receiving the money is also a major concern and additional efforts need to be made to ensure the targeted households receive the cash.
Poor Information flow: Throughout the payment process, the beneficiary households are the last and the least informed about the details of the each payment ‘ this is especially with regards to dates, times and locations. Additionally, they do not receive clear information on the amount that they are supposed to receive. This is aggravated by the recurrent delays in the delivery of cash, especially lump sums to cover missed payments. Given that the benefit level is not the same for every beneficiary household, lack of information increases the risk that some beneficiaries could be under or over-paid.
Lack of Complaints Mechanism: An important aspect of quality service delivery is the opportunity to provide feedback, issue complaints and receive responses from the payment agency. There is currently no official mechanism to receive and answer complaints on payments.
2.8.4 Advocate Alternative Payment Options
Given this background, the Ministry decided to test alternative electronic cash transfer options to deliver cash to the beneficiary households. The Ministry selected 3 service providers including MTN, to perform an e-payments pilot to test a range of electronic cash delivery mechanisms for LEAP beneficiaries over 3 consecutive payment cycles. This pilot was to provide the Ministry with evidence as to the efficacy and efficiency of different electronic methods of delivering cash, the relative merits of different solutions and their impact on the beneficiary households. In addition, it will give interested Payment Service Providers (PSPs) the opportunity to prototype, test and refine an electronic cash transfer mechanism that could potentially be contracted to reach more than 200,000 beneficiary households by 2016.
This chapter deals with methods that are employed to undertake the study. It looks at the design of the research, population of the study, sample size and sampling techniques, instrumentation i.e. instrument design, instrumentation validation and piloting the instrument, data collection procedures as well as data management and analysis.
3.1 Design of the Research
According to Ghauri & Gronhaug (2005) there are three (3) main classes of research design; exploratory, descriptive and causal. This study will adopt both descriptive and correlation research design .The choice of descriptive design is that it helps the researcher to describe the data and the characteristic about what is being studied and this will be done by studying the frequencies, averages and other statistical calculations. With this, a better understanding will be gained out of the topic.
Correlational research however will help to establish relationships between the dependent and independent variables .i.e. fund disbursement, technological problem, management problem and offline technology.
3.2 Sampling design
The sampling design involves the description of the target population or population of interest. There are two basic approaches to sampling, i.e. probability sampling and non-probability sampling. In probability sampling, each element in the sample has equal opportunity to be included. Non-probability sampling, however does not give an equal or fair opportunity to all the elements in the sample to be included. Therefore, this study will adopt probability sampling technique, so as to allow each element in the sample equal opportunity to be selected.
The population of interest as far as this research is concerned are beneficiaries of the LEAP program in Ga South municipality, social workers in the Ga South municipality, MTN mobile money agents.
3.3 Research instruments
The instruments used in this research were both questionnaires and interviews. The questionnaires consisted of both close-ended and open-ended questions. The questionnaires were basically meant for respondent who could read and write. The interviews were however meant for the respondents who could neither read nor write. Part of the interview was to validate the data that were obtained in the questionnaire. The questionnaires were administered to a predetermined sample size of three-hundred (300).
3.4 Data collection procedure.
Both primary and secondary data collection procedure was adopted for the research. The primary data comprised of interviews and questionnaires administered. The secondary data comprised of data from published documents and journal. In situations where secondary data was used, the researcher ensured that it was current and hence the relevance of the data was also tested. The data generated were isolated into themes and subheadings. The subheadings were further categorised to establish relationships (correlations) between variables. The qualitative variables were measured on an ordinal scale. The Likert type scale was used for this purpose. While One (1) represented ‘highest’, on the Likert Scale, five (5) represented ‘lowest’.
3.5 Method of Data analysis
There are number of ways of undertaking data analysis according to Donald Ratcliff Analytical induction which Looks at event and develop a hypothetical statement of what happened, then looks at another similar event and see if it fits the hypothesis. The researcher tested hypotheses among which were whether the cause for delay in the disbursement of fund is due to management problem or technological problem as far as the project is concerned.
Constant comparison or grounded theory on the other hand looks at document, such as field notes, looks for indicators of categories in events and behaviour. The researcher looked at relationships between variables like distance between cash payment point and beneficiaries’ residence and its impact on the time it takes beneficiaries to get their cash.
Additionally some of the data yielded quantitative variables and was analysed with SPSS to establish relationships.
3.6 Reliability testing.
Validity and reliability are two factors which any qualitative researcher should be concerned about while designing a study, analysing results and judging the quality of the study. (Patton, 2002)
Fresh interviews was conducted to affirm the validity or otherwise of the result from the secondary data. The targets of the interview were the beneficiaries of the LEAP project.
Interview was chosen because most of the beneficiaries cannot read or write. Furthermore, responses were reviewed for consistency and compared with other submissions. The researcher validated the findings through existing relationships with electronic payments industry sources and other available research and reports that were reviewed.
3.7 Piloting of questionnaire
The questionnaire was piloted to ascertain that the understanding and information being sort for is well understood by the respondents.
Due to funding and timing constraint, the research could not consider LEAP in other geographical location so as to ascertain whether the challenges so identified have any relationship with culture or otherwise.
4.1 Education on the E-payment system
Responses on whether or not the implementers of the programme gave the beneficiaries the needed education before the programme was rolled out were in affirmative. While sixty-two (62) of the respondents representing 29 % said ‘No’, forty-four (44) representing 21% said they were taken through orientation programme before the programme was rolled out. Meanwhile One-hundred and five (105) respondents representing 50% responded that they understand the cash out process.
About 71% of the respondent to some degree demonstrated understanding of the cash out process. This might mean the project implementers gave extensive education on the new process of payment. This can also imply the respondents are directly involved in the cash out process and for that matter they are in the position to give such an insight.
There is still room for improvement since 29% of our respondents have no knowledge about the processes involved in the new payment system. The absence of knowledge could lead to increased impersonation issue at the cash disbursement point. That is to say as they keep asking for help they might end up giving out PIN codes in the process to some of the person.
The demonstration of understanding by the respondents shows the amount of energy that went into the project. When project beneficiaries have such an in-depth understanding of a project it makes implementation less challenging
Figure 2 Showing understanding of cash-out process
4.1.1 Knowledge of contact person in event of challenges relating to the E-payment System
The researcher further tested if respondents have sufficient information as to who to contact in event of challenges that relate to the e-payment system of the LEAP program. The question was in two folds. That is whether they are aware that there is a contact person in event they have a complaint and a further test to ascertain if they know the contact person. 206 respondent representing 97% of the respondents gave the right contact person while 5 respondents representing 3% gave an answer that was partially correct.
4.2 impersonation and LEAP
Table 1 Showing challenges identified challenges
Agent location too open 3.0
less amount paid 7.0
complex process 9.0
Delay in correction in event of underpayment 9.0
non-resident agent 25.0
Delay in the receipt of SMS 8.0
long Waiting time at disbursement point 13.0
Agent running out of cash 2.0
Phone problem 16.0
Exposure of PIN Code to unauthorized person and that person using the PIN for the money 15
Fifteen (15) of the respondents indicated that there were instances where their PIN code were exposed to some of their grandchildren who in turn used the PIN for the money when it was finally disbursed. According to them, for most of the aged and the sick it is the care givers who normally go for the money. They said the issue here is how to bridge the care giver concept and this impersonation issue. Taking the care giver concept completely out will mean denying the bed ridden and the aged their fund. However this has been the main cause of impersonation. In trying to rid of this issue registration of the care givers will go a long way to help address this.
4.3 delay in fund disbursement as management problem or technological
From the test of hypothesis one, it was observed that X2c = 7.050651659< X2T = 7.815 at a (df =3;??=0.05). Decision rule for the (X2 ) test If X2c ' X2T ; we fail to reject the null hypothesis. X2c ' X2T ; we must reject the H0 in favour of the alternative hypothesis. This indicates that there is enough evidence to accept the null hypothesis which suggests that delay in fund disbursement is not technological problem but rather management problem. Figure 3 Showing Network connectivity during cash out A further test was conducted to test the impact of network connectivity on the cash out process. 90% of the respondents indicated that they have network connectivity during cash out process. 7% said the network connectivity strength is partly strong. While 3% indicated they do not have network at all. This indicates that the technology is helping to boost the project. Availability of network connectivity will as a matter of fact affect the rate of cash disbursement. But there is an irony in the response here in the sense that when the same sample was asked to state their challenges with the mobile money payment system one of the predominant challenge that they gave was network connectivity. Table 2 showing reasons why beneficiaries were not able to perform Cash out on same day Reason Frequency 206 Agent liquidity 1 ID mismatch or other authentication issue 2 Network connectivity 2 Total 211 4.4 Security and fund disbursement Figure 4 Showing security around e-payment Two hundred and eight (208) of the respondent representing 99% of the respondent said they feel their money on the e saving wallet is safe. 2 of the respondent said their money on the e-saving wallet is somewhat safe. That notwithstanding what the respondent failed to consider were issues around lost or stolen phone. When the matter was interrogated further they indicated that according to information they have been given the loss of a phone does not mean losing money since opportunity still exist for them to get their money if they get to the agent or operator. From this information it presupposes that for our audience security on the cyber net is not a matter of concern. This was evident when they were further asked to give some challenges that they see with the e-payment system. Furthermore those who had their cash stolen confirmed that those that perpetrated those evil were their own care givers. The onus lies with MTN to keep and uphold the trust that the beneficiaries have as far the security is concerned 4.5 Off-line technology and online payment Technology Hypotheses two: From the test of hypotheses two it was observed that the Chi-square X2 c = 6.337381517< X2T = 6.651 at a (df =3;??=0.10) Decision rule for the (X2 ) test If X2c ' X2T ; we fail to reject the null hypothesis. X2c ' X2T ; we must reject the H0 in favour of the alternative hypothesis. This indicates that there is enough evidence to accept the null hypothesis which suggests that off-line technology cannot be an alternative medium for fund disbursement under LEAP. Ghanaians by nature prefer to keep physical cash. Even though there has been a gradual paradigm shift from that way of life, attitudes are difficult to change within short time frame. More so the offline technologies in the e-payment to some extent do rely on mobile network connectivity for some functionality. Not until the providers of off-line cards are able to have their own network which is independent of that of the mobile network providers, the issue of unavailable network will continue to plague them. Furthermore, the acceptability of the mobile phone into the way of life of the Ghanaian life makes other services that relay on the mobile phone platform easily accepted. Furthermore the increase in the number of agents for MTN mobile money as opposed the number of point of sale terminals for offline-technology-based payment system makes MTN mobile money the preferred choice for beneficiaries. 4.5 Project Impact on indigents Figure 5 Showing impact of the project on indigents In reviewing the scores on how the project has impacted on beneficiaries, two hundred and ten (210) of the respondent indicated that the introduction of e- payment system has changed their status and life style. These respondents were further asked to give areas of their life that has improved as a result of the program so as to assess the impact of the project. A range of responses were given but one of the benefits that run through all the responses was health. That is, improvement in healthcare; because of the registration of beneficiaries under the national health insurance as part of the package of the project. Other areas that respondents stated as having improved included education, food , shelter and agro capital. In addition to the benefits above are, payment of school fees for grandchildren and clothing as part of the usage of fund by a section of the respondents. Given the pattern of expenditure of beneficiaries one will not be wrong to indicate that there should be a revision in the package. The researcher is of the view that the usage of the fund to the beneficiaries go beyond what the project anticipated. By extension this will make the fund not sufficient to meet the very basic need that was originally meant for. Instead of the basic amount which is allocated based on the number in the household, the project could go further to determine the need on individual basis. Two household might have the same number of people but they will all have different needs and hence the allocation based on this approach will go a long way to affect the project's goal achievement. 4.7 E-payment systems and the administration of the project Table 3 Showing time form Residence of respondents to cash payment point Time to cash Collection point Minutes Frequency Percentage 0 2 .9 3 1 .5 4 1 .5 5 26 12.3 6 1 .5 8 9 4.3 9 14 6.6 10 69 32.7 11 1 .5 12 1 .5 15 29 13.7 20 32 15.2 25 7 3.3 30 14 6.6 40 2 .9 50 1 .5 60 1 .5 Total 211 100.0 From the table above the mode of the distribution on time to cash disbursement point is 10 minutes. This implies that the cash disbursement points are within a walking distance from beneficiaries' residence. However there were some few outliers, for instance the greatest time spent from residence to cash disbarment point is 60 minutes but this response came from only one person. Amount GH?? Frequency Percent 0 149 70.6 1.00 1 .5 2.00 12 5.7 3.00 11 5.2 4.00 24 11.4 5.00 7 3.3 6.00 5 2.4 8.00 1 .5 10.00 1 .5 Total 211 100.0 The test of efficiency also looked at the amount on beneficiaries to perform cash out. From the table above, as much as one hundred and forty nine (149) of the respondent representing 71% does not spend anything on transportation to the cash disbursement point. That is to say the cash disbursement point is within a walking distance from the residence of beneficiaries. A system of this sort is a working one in the sense that beneficiaries get the full benefit of the money allocated to them. Therefore a further improvement in the number of agents and resident agents will go a long way to improve the project since the payment point will be closer to beneficiaries. 4.9 Current state of available communication facilities and the achievement of the project goals. The respondents were asked to give in their own words what makes the electronic payment system better than the manual. Thirty-eight percent (38%) stated convenience as the main advantage. Forty percent (40%) stated speed as the main advantages. Twenty percent (20%) was for safety and 2% gave no reason. For convenience the respondents further indicated that ones they get the SMS from MTN they decide when to go for the cash. Under the manual payment era beneficiaries or their care giver were supposed to be present at the cash disbursement point at a particular point in time irrespective of whether the timing and the location was convenient for the beneficiaries. The timing for the disbursement of fund could coincide with beneficiaries or caregivers' time for farming or trading. In that case the manual system also had some impact on the life of the beneficiaries and their caregivers and this will go a long way to affect national development as a whole. Figure ('.); showing time taken to get to cash payment point by the most available means. (Time in minutes) Distance from House to Payment collection point Distance in Km Frequency Percent 0 3 1.4 0.1 1 .5 0.1 98 46.4 0.2 15 7.1 0.2 39 18.5 0.3 25 11.8 0.4 6 2.8 0.5 19 9.0 0.6 1 .5 0.7 1 .5 0.8 1 .5 1 1 .5 15 1 .5 Total 211 100.0 According to table 1 (?) above the longest distance that a beneficiary covers to the cash collection point is 15 kilometres. This was from only one respondent. The average distant covered from residence to the cash collection point is 0.27 kilometres. Cost on transportation to the Cash collection point. A further test was also run to ascertain the monetary cost on transportation to the cash collection point so that cost could be compared with the cost under the cash based system. The table below analyses the amount beneficiaries spend on transportation to the cash collection point. Amount Spent on transportation to cash collection point Amount Frequency Percent 0 149 70.6 1 1 .5 2 12 5.7 3 11 5.2 4 24 11.4 5 7 3.3 6 5 2.4 8 1 .5 10 1 .5 Total 211 100.0 According to table 3 above, a total of 149 of the respondents representing 70.6% of the sample do not spend anything on transportation to the cash collection point. In other words, the cash collection point is within a walking distance. The highest amount that is spent on transportation is GHC10 ( a cost which relates to only one of the respondents). In all an average of GHC 1.12 is spent on transportation to the cash collection point. For the project to achieve its intended purpose the higher percentage of the fund should go into the basic needs of the beneficiaries. The goal is to reduce the transportation cost to zero. The respondents however indicated that the amount spent on transportation to the cash disbursement point has been reducing over the three cycles of payment. This has been largely due to the increase in the number of agents/pay points. This is also to say that the lesser the amount spent on transportation the shorter the distance to the cash payment centre. This implies faster access to the fund. Electronic payment and manual compared The researcher asked the respondents give to their opinions on how the electronic payment system compares with the manual system. On a three layer scales 3 of the respondents representing 2% of the sample stated that there is no difference. Forty-three (43) of the respondents also indicated that the manual system is better than the electronic. However 165 of the respondents representing 78% were of the view that the electronic payment system is better than the manual system. See figure 4 below. The respondents were asked to give in their owns words what makes the electronic payment system better than the manual. The main advantages centred on convenience, Safety, fast and no reason. Thirty-eight percent (38%) stated convenience as the main advantage. Forty percent (40%) stated fast as the main advantages. Twenty (20%) was for safety and 2% gave no reason. Fund disbursement Figure 6 Showing Network connectivity status during cash-out On the impact of network connectivity on the cash out process, ninety percent (90%) of the respondents indicated that they have network connectivity during cash out process. While seven percent (7%) said the network connectivity strength is partly strong, three percent (3%) indicated they do not have network at all. This indicates that the technology is helping to boost the project. Availability of network connectivity will as a matter of fact affect the rate of cash disbursement. But there is an irony in the response here in sense that when the same was asked to give out their challenges with the mobile money payment system one of the predominant challenge that they gave was network connectivity. The table below enumerates the various challenges identified by beneficiaries as far as MTN mobile money is concerned.. Challenge Frequency Agent location too open 3.0 Network 104.0 less amount paid 7.0 complex process 9.0 Delay in correction in event of underpayment 9.0 non-resident agent 25.0 Delay in the receipt of SMS 8.0 long Waiting time at disbursement point 13.0 Agent running out of cash 2.0 Phone problem 16.0 Exposure of PIN Code to unauthorized person and that person using the PIN for the money 15 Total 211 Three (3) of the respondents had an issue with the location of the agent. They said the locations of the agents were too exposed and therefore posing security treats. The greater part of the challenge that respondents pointed out had to do with network connectivity. One hundred and four (104) of the respondents pointed this that their main challenge with the e-payment system was connectivity problems. Other concerns from thirty-one (31) beneficiaries had to do with problem with the phone. Two (2) of the respondents' concerns were that agents run out of cash. Nine (9) of the respondent had issues with delay in correction of errors in event of underpayment. Complex processes as far as cashing out is concerned was also one of the concern for nine of the respondents. Twenty five (25) of the respondents also cited non- resident agents as a main challenge. The introduction of the e-payment system to the LEAP project was to facilitate payment to the beneficiaries and subsequently improve on the rate of payment to beneficiaries. The majority of respondents stressed network connectivity as the main challenge. Network connectivity is seen as one of the main cause of delay at the cash disbursement point. That notwithstanding, this contradicts what respondents gave as their response to the network connectivity and cash out process where one hundred and four (104) of the respondent agreed that they do have good network connection at cash payment time Some of the respondents were of the view that the e-payment system is too complex. A further interrogation into the complexity of the payment system indicated that most beneficiaries have hard time remembering the PIN. Given the ages and the educational levels of the beneficiaries, alternative to the PIN code system, for example, facial recognition or biometric finger print recognition could be used. E-payment was to bring the cash closer to the beneficiaries, reduce travel time and cost so as to maximize the benefit to households. However if mobile money is not closer to the beneficiaries, this goal will be defeated. Respondents are of the view that agents should be stationed closer to beneficiaries, more especially those who have to travel a distance by car to perform cash out. To further improve upon the project goals, e-mobile money agents could be deployed to the communities in question during the payment time. The system can also adopt the mobile van payment system. Summary and conclusion The introduction of e-payment system into the LEAP project has brought about a remarkable impact on the project. The impact is witnessed in areas like the time it takes for beneficiaries to get their cash through to the safety of the fund itself among others. That notwithstanding the research identified the following as the main challenges that the e payment system of LEAP project; network connectivity during cash out process, non- resident agents, delay in resolving issue of underpayment in event it occurs, problems associated with the phone, and complex processes (difficult in remembering PIN code). Recommendations 1. Given the pattern of expenditure of beneficiaries one will not be wrong to indicate that there should be a revision in the package. The researcher is of the view that the usage of the fund to the beneficiaries go beyond what the project anticipated. By extension this will make the fund not sufficient to meet the very basic need that was originally meant for. Instead of the basic amount which is allocated based on the number in the household, the project could go further to determine the need on individual basis. Two household might have the same number of people but they will all have different needs and hence the allocation based on this approach will go a long way to affect the project's goal achievement. 2. Given the ages and the educational levels of the beneficiaries, alternative to the PIN code system, for example, facial recognition or biometric finger print recognition could be used. 3. E-payment was intended to bring cash closer to beneficiaries, reduce travel time and cost, so as to maximize the benefits to households. However, if mobile money is not closer to beneficiaries, this project's goals will be defeated. To this end, it is recommended that agents be deployed to the communities during payment time. Alternatively, mobile vans could be dispatched to the communities to dish out the cash. 4. The seemingly absence of human in the process of fund disbursement makes it difficult for beneficiaries to lodge complains when the need arise in the course of the payment process. It is therefore recommended that the agents at the cash disbursement point is educated on the LEAP project so that they are in the position to handle some of the complaints for onward forwarding to the District social Works department for further action. 5. SMS alert are sent to registered phones of beneficiaries which serve as the referent point for them to contact the agent at the cash disbarment centre. Issue with phone ranging from spoilt or faulty phone to unavailability of battery or power problems go a long way to affect information flow. It is therefore recommended that cheap but durable Symbian based phone be made available to users. 6. Added security features such as finger print and facial recognitions could be introduced to the mobile money platform for added security and for ease of use by beneficiaries. This will go a long way to affect positively the acceptability by beneficiaries since one of the main concerns for most of the aged beneficiaries had to do with trying to remember the Pin code. 7. On the other hand the introduction of these security features also bring to bear another concern which is the care giver concept for those beneficiaries who are not able to move about and for that matter issues concerning the LEAP project from the collection of cash has to be done on their behalves because of their conditions. Appendix QUESTIONNAIRE Bio-data 1 District Name 2 District Code 3 Name of community 4 Age of Respondent 5 Sex of respondent 6 Were you educated on the electronic payment? A. Yes B. No Process of performing cash-out 7 Do you understand the process or steps for performing cash out? A. Yes B. No 8 If yes, what are the steps or processes? (Let the respondent list) ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''. 9 Are you told the exact amount you were to receive before collection? A. Yes B. No 10 If no, do you know the amount you are supposed to collect? A. Yes B. No 11 Are you informed the location where you would receive the money? A. Yes k B. No 12 Were you told who to contact if you needed further clarification on electronic payments? A. Yes B. No How to lodge complaints 13 Were you told who to contact/or where to send you complain if you had problem with your payment? A. Yes B. No 14 If yes, Where/Who do you send your complaint to'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''?.' 15 Have you ever lodged any complaint? A. Yes B. No 16 If yes what was the result of the complaint''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''? 17 If dissatisfied, why are you dissatisfied'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''?.' Distance of payment collection points 18 Did you or any of your colleagues have to pay speed money to get any action taken''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''?.'.. 19 How far is the payment collection point from your house (distance in km) ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''.'.. 20 How much time does it take to get there by the most available means? (Time in minutes) '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' 21 How much time do you spend waiting to collect the money at the collection point? (Time in minutes) ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''. 22 How much do you spend on transportation in total to collect the money? (Amount in Ghana Cedi) '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''..''''.. 23 Were you always able to perform your cash-out the first time you went to the paypoint? A. Yes B. No 24 If No, what was the reason you were not able to perform your cash out'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''?.' 25 Are you able to perform cash out any day apart from the designated payment days? A. Yes B. No 26 Are you able to perform cash out any place apart from the designated paypoints? A. Yes B. No 27 Did you receive the amount you were supposed to receive? A. Yes B. No 28 Do you get turned down by merchant because there is no money to pay you? A. Yes B. No Electronic payment system 29 In your opinion are you confident the electronic payment system will be better than the manual payment system? A. Yes B. No C. Same 30 If yes, what makes the electronic payment better? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 31 If no what what makes manual payment better? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 32 Have you ever received money less/more than you were supposed to receive? A. Yes B. No 33 Do you feel your money is safe in the e-savings wallet? A. Yes B. No 34 Have you ever lost your money on your e-wallet before it was cashed? A. Yes B. No 35 Do you have access to a bank account (savings/current)? A. Yes B. No 36 If YES, would you prefer that the payment is transferred directly into your account? A. Yes B. No 37 To you what are the advantages of the electronic payment system over the manual payment system? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 38 To you what are the disadvantages of the electronic payment system over the manual payment system? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 39 Are the arrangements for e-payment cash disbursement working better compared to the manual payment? A. Yes B. No 40 Do you have confidence in the MTN to continue to deliver the cash to you? A. Yes B. No 41 Is the phone working well? A. Yes B. No 42 Is the battery working well? A. Yes B. No 43 Do you have problem with PIN Code? A. Yes B. No 44 Is the network connectivitiy good when you to perform cash out? A. Yes B. No 45 Are agent always available when they are suppose to be there? A. Yes B. No 46 Apart from LEAP Cash Transfer what other benefit has MTN Mobile money brought you? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 47 Mention one key challenge with MTN Money -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 48 Are there some people in your community that cannot access their money on MTN Mobile money because of their condition? A. Yes B. No 49 If yes, what is the challenge of such people? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 50 Overall has MTN improved on education over the three cycles of payment? A. Yes B. No 51 Overall has MTN reduced time involved collecting money over the three cycles of payment? A. Yes B. No 52 Overall has MTN reduced distance to payment point over the three cycles of payment? A. Yes B. No 53 Overall has MTN improved its service over the three cycles of payment? A. Yes B. No 54 Are you satisfied with services of the electronic payment system? A. Yes B. No 55 Delay in fund disbursement is not technological problem but rather management problem. A. Highly Agreed B. Agreed C. Disagree D. Highly Disagree 56 off-line technology cannot be an alternative medium for fund disbursement under LEAP. A. Highly Agreed B. Agreed C. Disagree D. Highly Disagree 57 What benefits has the electronic cash transfer made to your household? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 58 Which livelihood strategies have improved after you began to receive the electronic cash transfers? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 59 Has your participation in the electronic cash transfer scheme changed your status in this community? A. Yes B. No 60 Mention one other area of the service which could be improved? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Receipt and usage of funds 61 Who receives the money on behalf of the household? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 62 Who keeps the money when it gets home? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 63 Who is in charge of allocating the money for the various uses? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 64 Do you understand why you are being given the money? A. Yes B. No 65 In the past four months have you been able to meet the objectives for which you are given the money? A. Yes B. 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