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Exploring the use of mobile banking services : case study of Wizzit Bank, South Africa.

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The rate of penetration of the mobile phone has exceeded all other communication technology, particularly in the developing world. This has seen the introduction of mobilebased financial services to address financial exclusion. However, there is limited research on the usage of these mobile banking services by the poor. This study therefore seeks to explore how mobile banking services are being used by the urban poor in four townships in Johannesburg, South Africa (SA). It seeks to explore the social, technological and economic factors that have enhanced or inhibited use of mobile banking initiatives. In-depth interviews with 10 users of a mobile banking initiative and a focus group were conducted. The study applied the Capabilities Approach by Amartya Sen to analyse the contexts that can affect use of mobile banking services. Analysis of the data shows that mobile phone ownership and uptake does not directly translate to mobile banking uptake and usage. The study finds that there are contextual influences of uptake and usage - specifically the social, technological, personal and factors related to the banking environment that the usage decision is made in. However, social factors seem to impact the usage decisions most, as decisions whether to use or not to use the Wizzit Bank services were highly dependent on trust. The study also finds that mobile banking has the potential to contribute to development through expansion of freedoms. Mobile banking gives low income users the freedom to participate socially and economically in ways that can improve their livelihoods.


Masters in Development Studies.


Banks and banking, Mobile -- South Africa., Electronic funds transfers -- South Africa., Internet banking -- South Africa., Theses -- Development studies., Wizzit Bank.