The introduction of information and communication technologies has created an opportunity for consumers to pay for products and services online and offline using mobile phones.
Transactions carried out through wireless and wired data transmission networks give consumers access as well as convenience to large amounts of products and services.
The introduction of these technologies in Ghana has created an enabling platform for consumers to use their mobile phones to pay for goods and services. Ghanaians have taken to e-commerce because of the convenience it provides for customers to pay and receive goods and services.
Unlike the developed countries, Ghana doesn’t have a well-developed infrastructure for the use of e-cards (debit or credit cards) for business transactions. So, consumers and businesses mostly rely on cash. This exposes consumers to risks, including health and theft as a result of having to carry physical cash. There is the need therefore to consider other safer methods of making and receiving payments. Mobile payments are one option.
Mobile payments have been in existence in the developed economies for some time and have been linked to improved business transaction. Consumers are able to shop 24/7 online in the comfort of their homes or businesses. This has resulted in increased transactions for businesses.
A recent study by Accenture shows that in the coming years traditional payments will decrease in favour of digital payments. The study further predicted a significant increase in the use of retail apps (8%), Apple Pay™/Samsung Pay™ (7%) and PayPal (6%).
The reason for the sharp rise in mobile payment sales according to the report is due to the rapid growth of use of mobile payment technology.
Notwithstanding the abundance of literature on M-payment in the developed economies, few empirical studies have been carried out on the use of mobile payments in developing markets including Ghana. Again, an understanding of mobile users’ intention to adopt M-payment system in developing economies such as Ghana appears to be sparse or non-existent.
In Ghana, mobile money has become one of the most widely used mobile payments methods. Mobile money services has been in existence for over a decade. However, its use has shot up astronomically over the last couple of years as more consumers are using the services for payments of goods and services. It is estimated that about 38.9% of the population (15 years +) in Ghana had a mobile money account as at January 2021.
Our study sought to close the gap in the literature on M-payment in developing economies such as Ghana. We developed a model to find out the determinants of mobile payments system adoption intentions among consumers in Ghana using three of the most popular theories used to explain online shopping behaviour. They are the Theory of Reasoned Action ; Technology Acceptance Model; and Theory of Planned Behaviour .
We wanted to know which factors would influence consumers adoption of mobile payment as a payment option for goods and services payment in Ghana.
What we found
We found that consumers’ intention to adopt mobile payment was indirectly influenced by other peoples’ perception and usage of the system. That is, when consumers saw celebrities and other social influencers adopting or using the system, they were likely to do the same.
This finding is in line with the assertion by some researchers that consumers’ intention to adopt a particular technology is dependent on two factors. Firstly, the belief and trust a consumer has for people a consumer admires (the reference group). Secondly, the desire to imitate the reference group’s actions towards a product.
We also found a strong correlation between a product or a service’s perceived usefulness and the attitude and behavioural intention of consumers towards mobile payment adoption in Ghana. That is, consumers’ intention to adopt a mobile payment method is influenced by the consumers’ perception of the usefulness in achieving a desired result or outcome. The desired result could be the user’s ability to transact on the platform successfully. Another study also made the same finding.
Our study also found that perceived ease of use had a significant positive effect on attitudes and perceived usefulness. Consumers would thus adopt a mobile payment method if they perceived the system as being easy to navigate. This result concurs with a study that found that perceived ease of use has a strong positive influence on technology adoption.
Attitudes and perceived security also influence consumers’ behavioural intention towards mobile payment system adoption. A 1% increase in a consumer’s attitude increased their intention towards mobile payment adoption by 22.7%. The same percentage in perceived security of the product or service, increased consumer intention towards mobile payment adoption by 15.8%. Failure to convince consumers about the safety and security of their transactions would have a negative effect on their likely adoption of a mobile payment system.
How to improve mobile payment services
Policy makers and service providers can learn from our findings. Perceived ease of use is regarded as one of the most important determinants of new technology adoption. The platform should therefore be designed in a way that consumers would find it easy and comfortable to use. Once consumers find the new technology easy to use and also realise the benefits they will have no problem in switching from the traditional mode of payments method to mobile payment option.
Perceived security is an important factor in the acceptance of new technologies. Implementation of adequate security measures to win consumer trust in the system and increase the chances of adoption and use of mobile payment system as a payment method should therefore be a priority.
Finally, government, businesses, and organisations should encourage the acceptance and use of m-payment system to complement existing payment methods and augment consumers’ payment behaviour. Moreover, it is mandatory that service providers and marketers recognise the implication of cultural values on intention towards M-payment system adoption.
Masud Ibrahim, Lecturer, Management Studies, AAM University of Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development and Robert E. Hinson, Acting Director, Institutional Advancement, University of Ghana, University of Ghana