Journal of Applied Finance & Banking

Micro-determinants of Customer Level Interoperability: A Feasibility Study between Traditional Banks and Mobile Network Operators in Zimbabwe

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  • Abstract

    MNOs have grabbed the unbanked market including the rural areas that traditional banks have failed to access, traditional banks have been experiencing a decrease in the level of activity, including liquidity shortages, low deposits and limited credit availability. The MNOs have lower charges for transacting, and offer more convenience and accessibility as opposed to traditional banks. Interoperability between traditional banks and MNOs has been riddled with challenges from the main stream banking sector. The paper seeks to find out if the traditional banking sector is indeed under threat from the use of the mobile money transfer system (MMTS) and if the two can harmonise their role in the market and operate together to the benefit of the Zimbabwean citizens. A quantitative study was adopted for the study with a view to gather information from mobile network operators. The population of agents for the three MNOs was 750, The 254 questionnaires were distributed to systematically-randomly selected clients from MNOs. Complementary data was collected from in-depth interviews from five randomly selected commercial bank managers and three MNOs managers to complement data collected from the questionnaires. A statistical analysis was also conducted to validate the results. Findings of this research indicate that in Zimbabwe males prefer mobile money transfer systems more than females, and the banking sector is dwindling because of the inability of traditional banks to adapt to the changes in the economy, technology and customer needs. It was also established that it is relatively easier and cheaper to open an account with MNOs in comparison to traditional banks hence higher numbers of clientele of MNOs. However traditional banks are more secure in transacting because of some of the locations of MNO agents are not secure and are risky to transact. Amalgamation between bank activities and MNOs activities are critical to serve satisfaction of customers.

    JEL classification numbers: G2
    Keywords: interoperability, mobile money transfers system (MMTS), Mobile network operators (MNO), logistic