Electronic payment systems such as mobile money as well as debit and credit cards have become the norm in the 21st century whilst cash has become almost obsolete. Many people may still prefer to use cash because of some benefits that it offers, for instance, fast purchases and transactions. People have been facing a choice between using the electronic medium and using cash. However, it is possible to combine the advantages of both digital technologies as well as cash.
Mobile money which is the ability to transfer funds, pay bills, save, borrow and even acquire insurance coverage via mobile phones. This technology is transforming the lives of individuals and businesses globally. The ability to access funds anywhere, anytime saves time, improves security and provides a means for saving and managing money more effectively than traditional methods.
Mobile money has revolutionized developing countries such as Zimbabwe as it makes banking faster and safe. In many developing economies, more people have mobile phones than have bank accounts. In Zimbabwe for example, according to the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, the total number of active mobile subscriptions is 12,798,298 which is more than 70% of the total population. For more than half of rural Zimbabweans, the nearest bank branch requires at least half an hour of travel time, with the risk of theft along the way thus using this solution, money can be transferred almost anywhere, even when there are no banks nearby.
This increases accessibility in rural areas, getting to the bank is expansive too and that is where mobile money comes in handy as it puts the money in your hand. Mobile money avoids long travel to send and receive money or to pay bills by standing in long queues as these can be done on the phone. This provides great comfort to the customers.
Purchasing of online goods and services has become easier and provides more options based on pricing and broad selection options. During the Covid-19 induced lockdown people have had to resort to purchasing products and services online as a movement as to and from shops increases the risk of contracting the virus. Mobile money has kept the small business alive during the lockdown as customers are easily able to make purchases at the comfort of their homes despite the business being closed.
Through technologies such as WhatsApp business and online stores, a small business can now send and receive files, get customer location, validate customer identity, send invoices, send pictures of products instore, receive secure payments, and much more. Technology has changed the way we live and has made our lives easier through making everything available to us at the comfort of our homes and in particular mobile money and wallets which have put our banks in our hands.