Electronic Retail Payment Systems: User Acceptability & Payment Problems
Abstract: ELECTRONIC RETAIL PAYMENT SYSTEMS: USER ACCEPTABILITY AND PAYMENT PROBLEMS IN GHANA The payment system in Ghana has undergone considerable change as electronic payment has gained increasingly popularity, especially in the cities. In Ghana, most bills are paid by walk-in customers. Because of limited transportation, many customers prefer paying by other means that may not include traveling. Customers are now looking for a way that they can easily make payments without going to each biller’s location, purchase money orders, and no loss of time. This thesis looks into issues in payment problems and user acceptance. Payment for goods and services in Ghana is characterized by long queues, long distance traveling and time wasting that negatively affect business activities and ultimately economic development. Settling utility bills, payment for goods and services, and money transfers has been a major headache for individuals and firms in Ghana resulting in declined business activities and huge debt to most of the utility services providers. Indeed, most Ghanaians are yet to fully realize the benefits of the technological advances made in banking services like networking of business branches, electronic transfers and use of automated teller machines. The few payment mechanisms that are available are not being well patronized by bank’s customers. The purpose of the study is to assess the issue of user acceptance in the existing electronic retail payments and also to ascertain the impact in solving some of the problems in retail payment for goods and services in Ghana. The research also describes and briefly analyses recent and potential future trends in electronic payments in Ghana, and the challenges faced by participants in this business. It is also in response to the growing need in Ghana to develop non-cash payment products and clearing systems in order to reduce the over- dependence on cash payments. In analyzing the electronic payments, we restricted ourselves to business to consumer (B2C) segment. The research questions for our study are: Can electronic payment system replace existing payment systems and solve payment problems? How are customer attitudes about electronic payments changing? What are the impediments to market development and innovation in electronic payments? This study used primary sources in a form of "consumer survey" questionnaire in obtaining the perceptions of bank customers (mostly individual customers) and interviews of bank’s staffs. An extensive review of the available literature provided the foundations for the writing of the thesis. The study collected data from secondary sources such as the Internet, articles, databases, and books, and were analyzed and interpreted. In the rare situations when official statistics are available, the recentness of the data determined its usefulness. It is universally agreed that a safe and efficient national payment system is essential for sound banking. The benefits derived from electronic payment cannot be over emphasized. Numerous studies have shown that electronic payment brings many benefits to users – convenience, security, record-keeping, low cost, and etc. Our study shows that electronic payment systems have the potential to eliminate if not reduce the problems consumer face in the payment and settlement system. The study also revealed that consumers are ready to embrace the new payment systems – electronic payment, provided other well anticipated side benefits are promoted to them.
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