Mobile banking is the topic of today as internet banking was a few years ago. [3] Globally millions of people already use mobile devices to do their banking transactions. Mobile phones as a device with high security standards and direct connections, allows customers to access a wide range of services throughout the world. This is due to the success of the mobile and internet banking which the mobile device brings both banking channels together as a compact and highly personal channel to make mobile banking a reality. [31] The mobile device also presents new opportunities in payment structure thereby formulating an easy means for transacting payments through the innovative combination of mobile technology.

Mobile devices have greater reach all around the world especially in developing nations with lower knowledge of its existence. At the same time they provide a fast and effective way for customers to send money to dependants in other countries or location.

As it is said, Mobile banking is big news in Africa which started out in countries as South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria where mobile phone users especially in the urban areas traded minutes by sending credits to their relatives in villages in order to communicate with them when the need arises. But then these transactions took up an increased trend by building awareness for Mobile banking deriving various mobile banking platforms such as the SMS, WAP etc. [21]

In West Africa, there are concerns on how this can be implemented and how the customers would embrace such technology. This will be discussed further in chapter 2 and 5. The mobile banking transaction consists of three main components and these are:

  • The User - Customers who make use of the application
  • The Device - Mobile handset, PDA etc
  • The Mobile Network Operator (MNO) - These can be Financial Institutions, Mobile service provider or combination of both.

The user can request for the service using a mobile device which connects the client application and the MNO through a wireless network, GPRS etc. [28]

The mobile phone has become an invasive device which has fewer disadvantages than most technologies. The answer to this can be said based on its penetration in poor economies (Africa in particular) and a customer's demand for the use of telecommunication. With a mobile phone, people can be reachable and have a secure mobile device in the palm of their hands to easily get information anytime they desire which makes communication easy.

The Mobile Network Operator may also be classified as a server supplier which serves as a link between the mobile user and the mobile phone in transacting data. [10]

Mobile banking offers the prospect of increasing the efficiency of payment systems and also expanding the access to financial services. These objectives may be in tension based on financial integrity or consumer protection. [31] Mobile banking has also had its criticisms, one being security. The fact still remains that there are measures in place to tackle such risks involved especially in terms of fraud or money laundry. [29]

The mobile banking services have expanded in Africa cutting across East, West and the southern region of Africa. In Kenya today, a customer can send money via mobile using the Short Message Services (SMS) mobile banking platform. [24]

It has been spoken about the potential expansion for mobile banking as its awareness builds around Africa and how it could lower the cost of banking and build a customer-banker relationship. [6]

In implementing a mobile banking structure, there are varieties of mobile banking platforms such as short Message Service (SMS), Mobile web (WAP) and Mobile Client application (J2ME, BREW etc.) and so on. Each Mobile banking platform has its strengths and weaknesses which in effect is important to identify, for this will enhance further development in its future prospect and be appropriate for financial services. [17]

SCOPE AND PURPOSE

The scope of this project is to implement a mobile client based application using Java application (J2ME) and then determine how effective and secure it will be to a society and users. Questions may be asked why mobile client application. This is because it is at the moment known to be the quickest and easiest way of transacting data on the mobile device in any given time. There should be mobile network coverage for the application to function.

Mobile client application also known to be standalone mobile application is most suitable to implement for a complex financial transaction. A basic requirement for mobile client application platform to be implemented is that of the software been required to be downloaded on the mobile device before it could be used, though further requirements will be needed to support the development environment (J2ME) to function on the device. [20]

The J2ME client application connects to a server through the wireless enabled device or GPRS which allow customers gain access their bank statements and also perform other banking transactions such as money transfers, pay bills etc. With the support of Nokia Ltd, developers have easy access to development tools by opening an online community for developers focused in developing applications based on J2ME. [29]

Therefore the scope highlights a broad view of the project in implementing a mobile banking application using J2ME - Java 2 application. The hardware devices to be used are - a Mobile device and a PC /Laptop. The software tools used are Sun Java Wireless Toolkit 2.5.2 for CLDC, NetBeans IDE 6.8, MySQL server, Apache web server, Edit Plus 3, Notepad etc.

The purpose of this project is to design and implement a mobile banking application demonstrating its benefits and tackling flaws encountered in its implementation, thereby creating an awareness of the banking platforms which best ensures a safe and secure means of transacting data in West Africa. Therefore i embark on implementing the project and then demonstrate how it will function.

AIM AND OBJECTIVES

The project is aimed at implementing a mobile banking application to develop its technology and then demonstrate how it could be beneficial to developing countries and financial institutions as mobile payment system is one of the biggest hits in Africa. This will enable mobile network operators who connect to the everyday reality of the customers, diversify in what is known as a growing market and also implement security measures to ensure a safe and secure mobile banking transaction.

The objectives of this project that has been formulated to aid the implementation and success of the project are:

  • To investigate current Mobile banking platforms, methods and technologies used in West Africa and how effective and productive it has been to the countries/nations. This was carried out with the aid of Journals, articles and information from the internet and media.
  • To investigate and determine the benefits, threats, and weaknesses of implementing a mobile banking application in West African region.
  • To investigate on the security breaches in existence and measures to be taken into consideration when implementing the application due to a high risk of data exposure in that region.
  • To derive techniques to be used to implement the application on a mobile device.
  • To design, test and implement a secure mobile client application to make easy access to customers checking their account balances through Mobile Java enabled devices etc

BACKGROUND OF THE PROJECT (OVERVIEW)

Literature Review - (Chapter 2)

This chapter will analyze, investigate and discuss views on the methods involved in implementing a mobile client application in West Africa and how this can be implemented. Various challenges that may disrupt the implementation will be discussed thereby formulating a means of solving its challenges and how to improve the current situation.

The author will also address general questions arising from exploration of countries in West Africa (Nigeria and Ghana in particular) and how this will be solved.

Structure of Mobile Banking - (Chapter 3)

This chapter will explain the structure, meaning and various types of mobile banking in existence. With a clear structure in place, the project will encompass methods and steps to ensure a successful implementation of mobile banking platforms in West Africa.

Mobile Banking Implementation - (Chapter 4)

This chapter critically examines the implementation process involved in deriving a method that can be implemented, steps to be taken into consideration and testing of the application. The various steps taken will be derived from Unified Software Development Process (USDP). USDP is a generic process for the UML and will apply the iterative lifecycle model of USDP. [17] [10]

Project Conclusion and Recommendation - (Chapter 5)

The final chapter will encapsulate the previous chapters and the author will discuss on further development to ensure the progress of the project, future improvement in the system designed and how it will be beneficial to the case study chosen. The conclusion will talk about the state at which the project was completed and what more can be implemented.

CHAPTER 2

LITERATURE REVIEW AND PROBLEM DEFINITION

LITERATURE REVIEW

This Literature review is about addressing general questions arising from exploration of countries in the West African region in particular. As i mentioned earlier in the previous chapter, one of the objectives of this project is to investigate the use of mobile banking in West Africa, and then determine which mobile banking platform best suites the economies and masses by further expanding the view based on its availability, accessibility, affordability and security. [29] In carrying out my research, i limited my search on few West African countries to accommodate the time limit and information given in completing this project.

There are 15 countries in West Africa; but in my research i will engage on using a sample size (limiting my search to two countries - Nigeria and Ghana), whereby i will analyze and investigate the development of mobile banking and its effect caused in the implementation in those countries. [2]

This will enable a fair view recommendation in my conclusion thereby concluding on which mobile platform can best be applied. Both countries (Nigeria & Ghana) have active Mobile banking initiatives currently implemented; but as low and middle income countries respectively, they come from different starting points and face different issues. As such, they help to frame the particular questions which are focused to derive a result in the implementation of Mobile banking in West Africa. These few questions are:

  • What is happening to mobile banking in these developing countries, and is it likely to lead to greater accessibility and affordability?
  • Will Mobile banking in West Africa develop spontaneously and will there be an enablement required for it to function effectively?
  • What are the measures in place (if any) to ensure a fast and secure means of mobile banking.
  • Are financial institutions aware of Mobile banking in Nigeria and Ghana and what mobile banking platforms have been applied?
  • What benefit does Mobile banking contribute to the economy and how will the customers embrace such technology?

In this project, various investigations are carried out to identify the elements of an environment in adopting Mobile banking methods which would maximize the likelihood of access to financial services and how it will expand greatly in West Africa. Because of its restricted time and focus, the project was designed to be exploratory, rather than definitive (seeking to understand what was happening in both countries mentioned above) and in the process develop an approach towards market development and awareness of which could be of wider value across the continent. The project comprised the following elements: Investigation on existing mobile banking platforms used as mentioned earlier and the different approaches adopted in different Countries.

In my research, i realized that mobile banking platforms follow a wide range of mobile application expansion in West Africa where so many banks are embarking on the system. This was because of the success of new mobile devices manufactured to provide excellent characteristics with larger processing power, large amount of memory, enabled Java programming and GPRS/GPS service.[4]

Furthermore, mobile network operators in the Western region of Africa adopted 2.5G network, which uses GPRS as an information bearer. With the expansion of 3G networks, it has made mobile banking more productive. These type of networks enable greater amount of data to be transmitted between the client and server applications using much secure and stable connectivity. [4] With the adoption of the 2G network, WAP was implemented and due to disadvantages in terms of security and availability, the development of the mobile client application was introduced. WAP mobile application was useful for less powerful mobile devices. [4] [9]Taking a look at other West African countries like Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Niger etc. in which they know little about mobile banking, with an awareness and banks adopting mobile banking platforms, these nations will adopt mobile banking platforms.

The vast major countries in West Africa in which mobile banking is implemented are Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia and few others. [3]

In carrying out my analysis on the growth and implementation of mobile banking in West Africa, i looked at developing countries in that region and examined how effective mobile banking can be. In my research, i sampled two countries - Nigeria and Ghana and examined all aspects relating to the project topic.

RESEARCH ON MOBILE BANKING IN NIGERIA AND GHANA

The growth of Mobile banking in Nigeria started in 2006 beginning with the SMS system of banking which is widely common and still practiced. The WAP and Mobile client application system started in 2008 and ever since has been expanding in technology. Internet banking is one of the mobile banking systems that had a low penetration rate in Nigeria due to poor internet facilities and a high cost of acquiring internet service (Table 2.1).[3]

Globa Com - a Mobile Network Operator (MNO) uses the SMS system of banking in collaboration using some banks in the country.

According to the official of Globa Com, in which he stated that Glo Mobile banking subscribers will soon have access to paying bills and other utility bills on their mobile with a collaboration with several financial organizations. This proves the growth and expansion on Mobile banking in Nigeria and the rest of West Africa. As at 2008, the internet banking system had a 6% penetration rate in a population of 140million in Nigeria. In regards to mobile banking, its penetration rate is close to 50% with a prospect for more expansion as analyzed below. [4]

One may ask why a large difference between both banking systems. This is due to low infrastructure and technology in satellite transmission across West Africa.

In Ghana, There are measures to ensure the wide spread of Mobile banking services for commercial banks have been advised to introduce mobile banking platforms to enable its customers in carrying out banking services even outside the banking premises which was the only way to transfer funds, check balances etc. [5]

Mobile banking service penetration

As analyzed above in table 2.1, mobile banking services has penetrated in both countries compared to internet banking which has very low penetration. For Mobile client applications to be implemented, a mobile device with GPRS, WAP enabled and java compatibility should be used. These applications implement secure API and web service technology.

Mobile banking features on a mobile phone have been provided to users in which it is secure and easy to use. This concept is a competitive advantage on the market of mobile phone manufacturers in which competitive advantage is the possibility of success. [13]

Emmanuel Okoegwale stated in his report that offshore transfer of WAP mobile banking was a disaster based on an internet-based technology applied to the mobile which was a slow, unreliable and costly system for customers in Nigeria with poor coverage, handset limitation and inadequate customer awareness to the system. At the moment, the SMS system of banking is dominant for mobile banking transaction. [4]

TECHNOLOGY

With the standardization of the 3rd generation mobile communication systems in 2000, technology became a vital impart in the world of mobile banking. In 2000, 2.5G - 2.75G network increased the data transmission. Then, the 3G network system which transmits wideband TDMA and CDMA, voice and high bit-rate data and portable units. There are speculations of the 4th generation mobile communication systems called the 4G to be implemented in 2010. The current mobile technology used in Ghana and Nigeria are:

  • SMS (The “request - replyâ€? text application)
  • WAP (Web application)
  • J2ME (Java application)

Short Message Service

The Short Message Service system involves a user and a Mobile Network Operator exchanging text messages through a secure encrypted channel. But first, the user needs to be registered with the bank to receive the facility. Once registered by the bank, the user will be advised a text will be sent to him to confirm the registration. The service will then be registered and the user would be able to receive text alert once in a while especially when a transaction has taken place in the customer's account. The structure of a secure SMS system is therefore highlighted below.

An SMS System of banking

With the SMS system, the user can request for his current balance by (requesting) sending a text to a bank message code and then get a response. The message code helps to identify the user and then recognise his request, in which it will initiate a response (sending his current balance). The disadvantage of SMS system of banking is that scammers send SMS messages identifying themselves as the bank, and also request for further bank details from the user such as PIN number, account number etc. This fraud has made the SMS system of banking insecure. This method is still experienced in Nigeria and Ghana respectively as i was able to identify that as a challenge.

Another disadvantage is the user cannot store his credit card information on the mobile devices to pay a bill due to poor mobile infrastructure in place in West Africa. Also, no payment history can be derived from the mobile device when using an SMS system of banking.

WAP (Web Application)

The WAP system uses an internet browser on a mobile device. The user accesses his account from the bank's website. This is similar to internet banking practiced on a PC or laptop. A major constrain in the WAP system is old mobile handsets have no built-in mobile browser, therefore restricting users in using such method.

In Ghana and Nigeria, most mobile handset users use sophisticated handsets with GPRS, 3G and wireless enabled. Few banks such as Diamond, Intercontinental, Bank PHP and Ghanaian Commercial bank have adopted this method of banking, but yet to completely introduce it to all their customers. This is due to the long wait and procedure their customers have to take in registering for the facility. Some banks have created a special web page which will be suitable for their customers to register on their mobile screens.

Mobile browsers are vulnerable to the same security risk been experienced in internet banking. However, there are differences in terms of safer means of transacting data on a mobile device than on the PC or laptop. This is because as at June 2009,[21a] creators of Trojan horses viruses and other types have not fully focused on the mobile market; though viruses still affect mobile devices, but it is not as rampant as the PC or laptop.

J2ME (Java Application)

J2ME is classified as an application used to implement a mobile client application. This application needs to be downloaded and installed on a mobile device which is java enabled, and then linked directly to a server. The application is said to require an effort to install, but it is known to becoming popular around the world. This is because it is faster than logging into the web browser to access a bank's website. With further development in its technology, its user interface will be much easier to navigate.[21a]

Applications as this are highly secure due to its implementation and information designed to function with a security algorithm, whereby all banks use different security algorithms.

The disadvantage in using this method is programs downloaded on a mobile device can be stored and if not signed or logged out, it could be vulnerable to security risk. This can be tackled by introducing a timeout system method when implementing the code.[21a]

CONNECTIVITY

There are various network connectivity used in mobile transmission.

Network Connectivity

Mobile device users communicate using wireless networks anywhere at any given time. Mobile devices can be connected as well at any place and at anytime to the wireless network. Wireless network connectivity are regulated by frequencies. The user receives wireless network connection on his mobile on the frequency and wavelength of the antenna. Signal problems may occur based on the blocking and reflection of large buildings, the size of wavelength may be too small and the distance of the wireless antennas (mast) may be too far. This has been further tackled in developed nations, but West African countries still experience these problems. Signals can take many different paths and may case delay (3-12 micro seconds). [17]

The effects of low or no signals in West Africa are based on short and long term fading of the signals. The short - term fading can be classified as buildings, hills, trees etc., while the long term fading can be said to be the distance between the sender and the receiver, for it may change when the user moves to a different coverage area.

MOBILE PLATFORMS

Mobile devices come in different ranges, shapes and sizes. This is why mobile developers cannot system the same mobile platforms for another mobile device. For example, mobile applications developed to function on a Nokia handset will not function on a Windows Mobile/ Windows CE handset, though some applications may function on handsets manufactured by different companies. An example is the snake game on a Nokia and Sony Ericsson handset. This is due to the specification in both devices which will be further explained. Also, these devices are manufactured by different companies using different techniques. Mobile devices are categorised into:

Microsoft PDA and Smart phones

These devices use a mobile 5 and 2003 pocket edition platform to function. Types of devices in these categories are XDA, SPV-M, MDA, I-MATE, HTC S623 etc.

Nokia and Sony Ericsson Devices

These devices use a Symbian platform to function. Types of devices in these categories are P900, N series, W series, 9300 communicator etc.

RIM - Blackberry Device

The blackberry device is a unique kind of device, for it has its unique platform and for such features (such as push e-mails) to function, it will need to register with RIM company, and then be connected to the blackberry enterprise server (BES). With other devices such the HTC device you can download the outlook e-mail feature from the mobile web.

Palm Smart phones

The palm device also uses Microsoft mobile 5 platforms along with the palm Operating System (OS) platform. Devices in this category are Treo 600, Treo 650, Centro, Palm pre etc.

Microsoft PDA phones, smart phones are also manufactured by Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Palm and other mobile companies. These devices have similar functions which are:

  • They have the push e-mail function
  • You can create, edit and read on the device using applications such as word, powerpoint, spreadsheets etc.

There are differences between using a blackberry device and other devices. As mentioned earlier, the blackberry device is a unique kind and this has made its devices more demanding and competitive in the mobile market.

Analysing these mobile devices in terms of usage in Nigeria and Ghana, most people are so focus driven when new kinds of mobile handsets are introduced into the market. They look forward to having one without the knowledge of its features or technology.

The mobile platforms in use are listed and some are explained below:

  • Symbian platform
  • Palm OS platform
  • Java platform
  • RIM (Blackberry) platform
  • Windows Mobile platform
  • Linux platform

Symbian platform

The name Symbian was derived based on Microsoft's domination in the mobile market, therefore making four mobile companies ( Ericsson, Panasonic, Motorola and Nokia) along with the development team of Psion (a UK based company) form a new company called Symbian. The Symbian platform was also called EPOS.

Symbian is known to be an open source operating system (OS) specifically designed for mobile devices and smart phones with frameworks, libraries and user interface originally developed by the company - Symbian LTD. [29b]

The Symbian platform is specifically engineered to handle error (which is similar to Java) and uses the concept of a server rather than traditional device drivers. The Symbian platform uses an SDK development environment. Figure 2.3 shows the architecture of the Symbian platform.

Java platform

Java was developed as a language for embedded programming of washing machine, microwaves etc. In 2000, Java language became sophisticated with large classes supporting desktop like application and requiring memory resources and significant processing.

The growth of mobile devices reached the critical mass which made Sun re-launch a smaller version of their SDK called J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition). J2ME now retains integration with larger SDK' Sun like Palm OS and Symbian platforms. The architecture of J2ME (as shown in figure 2.3) was further partitioned into the virtual machines, configurations and profiles(as shown on figure 2.4).

The J2ME also has support for OTA provisioning. Java ME technology was created in order to handle the constraints connected with building applications for small devices.

Palm OS

The Palm was launched as a software house developing handwriting recognition software for some manufacturer's handheld. In 2001, palm split to become two companies, one responsible for development of operating systems and the other PDAs.

Palm functions with a single -tasking third -party kernel which was developed by KADAK. It has a real-time operating system which is able to handle hardware interruption while task switching.

EVALUATION AND FINDINGS

A search was carried out to analyse the current Mobile banking Structure in West Africa and what banking strategies have been implemented to ensure customers have a safe and secure means of Mobile banking.

Before implementing a Mobile client application, such evaluations should be carried out by using SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis, this will enable me carryout a proper implementation of Mobile banking in West Africa.

In achieving my findings, I carried out various objectives which are listed below:

  • I carried out a search to analyse the current Mobile banking Structure existing in West Africa and how effective, accessible and affordable it has been to the economies or nations. This was carried out with the aid of Journals, Articles and information from the internet and media.
  • Results: The mobile banking platforms in existence are SMS, WAP and Mobile client application.

  • An evaluation of my findings from my literature search was carried out to determine the benefits, threats, and the weaknesses of implementing a mobile banking application in West African region.
  • Results: The benefits are greater expansion in banking facility and the economy at large.

    Security measures were derived when implementing the application due to a high risk of data protection in that region.

  • What techniques were introduced in current mobile banking platforms?

Results: Techniques derived to implement the application on a mobile device are SMS alert system, banking advertisement and customer-to-bank relationship.

ANALYSIS AND INVESTIGATION

Analysis and investigation are issues that may arise when implementing a mobile banking platform. To investigate the above given aim and objectives, i'll be using a range of resources, like books, journals, but the main source of my information will be the Internet; resources from news websites, white papers and government publications etc. thereby providing an up-to-date information to carryout my research. This method was adopted due to constrains in distance and information from West African countries.

According to Sola fanawopo(2008) on the growth in mobile banking services in Nigeria, he stated that “some of the transactions that can be conducted with Glo Mobile banking include - checking balances, viewing of the last five transactions on account. He also stated Glo Mobile (Owner by Globa Com) subscribers can transfer money from one account to another within the same bank.[23] Emmanuel Okoegwale in an article went further to elaborate on when Nigeria started using Mobile banking system which he said started by transaction based activities whereby customers were notified through the SMS system of banking in respect to the recent banking transactions done on their account.[3]

With the recent penetration of internet and Java enabled mobile devices, Nigerian banks deployed full fledged banking through mobile device with various means of services made available, but this was made possible in the bank. The internet being a channel to mobile banking had penetration rate of 6 percent (%) in a population of 140million,with mobile technology been close to 50 percent (%) penetration with prospect for growth.( see table 2.1) [4]

The banking sector in Ghana has witnessed a significant amount of transformation in the adoption of banking which also known in Ghana as ‘m-banking'.[3]

According to Daniel Nonor's report on mobile banking in Ghana, he said “subscribers to the facility in Ghana still account for a tiny percentage of the banking public, but fast gaining grounds�. He went further to explain the use of advanced mobile phones and services by Ghanaians who have embraced the mobile technology. [1]

One of Ghanaian's top banks - ‘Ghana Commercial bank' GCB is yet to introduce the mobile client system of banking to their customers in 2010. [24]

MTN ( one of West African's mobile service operators launched mobile banking in Ghana called MTN Mobile Money which will allow customers pay for utility services, transfer money and other banking services. For this to function, customers will have to register with authorized mobile money agents or partnership banks. [5]

Ivatury and Mas (2008) predicted that poor people in developing countries are more likely to use mobile phones in undertaking financial transactions. [8]

However, there exists poor internet connectivity in most countries in West Africa in which banks and other financial institutions had to formulate a means of enhancing the development of banking services to be made easy for their customers. A viable solution they adopted was the mobile banking. [15]

Notwithstanding the prospect, the reality today is that Mobile banking is at an early stage. Though a precise number is not available, it is likely that fewer than a million people in West Africa currently make use of their mobile phones for financial transactions.

Most African providers of Mobile banking services reported that the major constrain to their growth related to uncertainties over customer adoption in which is mostly common as at an early stage of market development. Another constrain is regulatory issues like the uneducated customer who do not know the requirements and access to banking services. [22]

Before developing the requirements needed to adopt mobile banking in a country, it is worth acknowledging to analyze the significant impact on whether Mobile banking can or will take effect in that country.

Firstly, Mobile banking requires that customers have access to mobile phones. In regards to countries where network coverage and usage is growing strongly are more likely to develop widespread Mobile banking applications, the relationship is not linear, however countries with low levels but rapid rates of growth as in Liberia, Niger etc., network capacity may be overstretched. The potential for rapid growth may be in a very high peak in countries where levels of usage have already reached critical mass, and where increasing inter-network competition creates the push and pull system to consider additional product offerings. [9]

Secondly, because of the ongoing need for access to cash, mobile banking benefits from the existence of an accessible existing payment system which allows cash withdrawal.

There are factors that suggest that the potential for take-off of Mobile banking may be highest in middle or low income markets which of course are the cases when looking at the analysis.

However, predicting take-off in a particular market is inherently uncertain, since it will depend on particular conditions there. More important for now, is to ask whether the banking sector is willing to enable the startup and development of mobile banking systems with transformational potential. [9]

In countries like Nigeria, Togo, Ghana where mobile banking has begun penetrating into the financial market, this will be an easy means of further expanding its technology for example, from SMS banking to WAP system. By comparison, the penetration of retail banking systems in most West African countries is very low. While no reliable figures for the proportion of people banked yet exist at continental level, national household surveys are providing more reliable information for certain countries. [4]

Highlighting the cases of Nigeria and Ghana is the focus of my research. People have mobile phones as they have bank accounts, even though the latter have been available for a long period but find it uncomfortable to keep their money there.

Mobile banking has the potential to be expanding more than predicted for it uses existing mobile services which has been known by people with low knowledge of banking ( especially in rural areas). Countries in Africa with sufficiently large retail banking customer base, such as Kenya , Nigeria , South Africa and Zimbabwe have added on mobile banking services to their economy, although more mobile banking platforms are yet to be implemented in such countries.[5]

RESOURCES

I gathered a lot of supporting information and knowledge regarding the above defined search areas. Among them were significant literatures which have been derived and applied and potential documents were separated as a further help and a reference for developing the entire project. All these literatures have been listed as references at the end of this report.

PROBLEM STATEMENT

In mobile banking, data is usually transmitted electronically over a wireless communication system and also the internet. In doing so, the issue of confidentiality and authentication will arise. These processes therefore raise issues of how important is the confidentiality of a data and how users are authenticated with unidentified keys. Based on how low the development of mobile security is in developing countries compared to developed ones, mobile banking has not been diffused into the society. This also is affected by the low rate of internet access.

However, the recent increase in mobile technology has made it possible for a solution to be derived. Increasing penetration of mobile banking platforms in West Africa and the rest of the world has its limits which are:

  • Mobile devices have a limited set of user interface functionality in terms of input and output of data. Mobile devices also display one “screenâ€? information at a time.[11]
  • Low bandwidth of 9.6kbps (Kilobytes per second) to 11mbps (Megabytes per second). This can be compared to the internet banking in which personal computers (PC) access at speeds from 56k (Kilobytes) to T1 and beyond. Wireless devices on mobile are limited to 19.2k, even less at times. [17]
  • Wireless connectivity coverage is limited. This is due to the poor network infrastructure and technology used by Mobile Network Operators (MNO)
  • Most people are using basic handsets of which the devices have variety of different target devices with different capabilities, features and restrictions. These devices may also have different technical capabilities such as memory size, network connectivity options etc.

In the developing countries such as Nigeria, people have less option for transferring money and as well as accessing banking services. This is due to less deployed banking infrastructure and technology, fewer Automated Teller Machines (ATM) set up to relief bank branches and very low internet penetration in the society. These and many more explained earlier are the causes of poor banking services.

The solution to these causes lies in the hands of financial institutions and MNOs, in which they could negotiate on a fast, secure and customer friendly mobile banking experience. It is a lot harder in constructing the service without the involvement of MNOs .

Mobile network operators control the key element in terms of the security measures put in place which is usually embedded within the handset. The service will function under an unsafe condition inorder to get the right technology needed to run the application. [8]

CHAPTER 3

FUNDAMENTALS OF MOBILE BANKING

Mobile banking applications play a significant role in the banking environment which favours the poor in developing countries. To grow the acceptance of the mobile banking platforms (especially Mobile client application) among developers and customers, the method to be used should be easy to implement and introduce. There are two or more considerations examined while in the development of a mobile application. Some of which are based on the success of the component adopted by developers and a software application (Platform or tool) abstraction for the mobile applications.

Mobile application platform (such as NetBeans IDE, Wireless Toolkit etc.) serves as a conduit point in organizing the functionality required by a mobile application. A mobile application tool then communicates with the computing environment as a client application of one or more server-side services. It also organizes the functionality of mobile devices as a tool used by mobile users and by the server -side application.

Mobile application is evaluated by an extensible structure for Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP) applications of J2ME that run in small mobile devices. [28]

MOBILE BANKING STRUCTURE

The extent to which mobile banking can be transformational in a country will depend on the environment to which it will be implemented. Internet and Mobile technologies have been adopted and in banking sectors and has reshaped (see: figure 3.1) the rapid event of the consumption of financial services. [27]

The mobile banking platforms can be delivered to the consumer through application environments which are the Client-side application and the Server- side application. The Client-side applications are applications that reside on the consumers' on mobile device.

Server-side applications are developed on a server away from the consumer mobile device. They include SMS, WAP standalone client application and many more. The Financial institution would only need to select one of these applications for implementation.

However, in some market environment it would be wise to implement more than one application in order to manage consumer acceptance.

The selected application should not have an effect on where the mobile banking platform should sit. Mobile banking platform is typically customized by either a mobile banking developer or the specialized technology unit within a bank or financial institution. [6]

Each of these technologies requires that the consumer registers or activate the application with the financial institution/bank offering the service in the country. This registration process is defined by the service provider (when considering the server -side technology) and serves as an initial identification of the consumer to ensure ongoing trust in, and security of, the transaction. There are numerous methods of registering or activating customers in existence, all of which require the endorsement of financial institutions offering the service. [6]

In Nigeria and Ghana, customers have got to visit the bank to register for Mobile banking facility in which they will be given a form to fill and then instructed to come along with the mobile device to be configured ( in the case of WAP and Mobile Client application). Indeed this is a long process and considering the fact there will be a queue in the bank.

In server-side applications, consumer data are typically stored in a secured environment (mainly the bank's server) or at their allocated Mobile network provider. [6]

In client-side applications, this is different, for the consumer data is typically stored on the application, or entered by the consumer, and encrypted by the application in the SIM or handset. [6]

MOBILE BANKING DEFINITION

To define what mobile banking is all about, one would need to understand the meaning of ‘mobile' and ‘banking'.

From Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia defines mobile banking as “a term used for performing balance checks, account transactions, payments etc. through the use of a mobile device�.[30]

According to Emmanuel Okoegwale (2008), mobile banking refers to “a provision of banking and financial services with the help of mobile telecommunication devices�.[3]

David Porteous also explains mobile banking in his report on ‘the enabling environment for mobile banking in Africa', in which he stated mobile banking includes a mobile payment process that can be accessed by a mobile device in making payments, which develops the possibility to the broader range of other banking services. [22]

According to Ignacio Mas and Kabir Kumar (2008), they defined mobile banking in a customer's view stating “mobile banking presents a delicate balance between being able to transact any time, any where� and “the practical challenges for particular menu sequences on small screens and tiny buttons.� [8]

MOBILE BANKING PLATFORM

SMS banking system

SMS (Short Messaging Service) banking system is one of the most common type of mobile banking that allows customers to send and receive text messages on their mobile handsets using the numbered or qwerty keypad on the mobile device to input characters. The SMS service is hosted on a SMS gateway which connects to the mobile service. The mobile network operators offer users the ability to subscribe to the services in which will comprise of current events on sports, entertainment and news content by sending these information directly to their mobile phone in the form of an SMS. [6]

SMS Banking requires a customer to be registered to initiate a transaction by sending a structured SMS (SSMS) message to the bank's server. The customer will request for his account data by sending an SMS request containing a service command to the bank. The customer will then confirm the unique word identifier to instruct the SMS gateway to submit the message. Upon receipt of the request, bank then responds with a reply SMS containing the data requested.[6]

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

IVR (interactive voice response) is also a type of mobile banking used many years ago which allows customers to select an option from a voice recorded menu and interact with the phone system. This method of banking is still practiced among banks in the United Kingdom. A pre-recorded voice prompt is played and the user will be prompted to press a number on a keypad to select an option. Speech recognition can also interpret the caller's simple spoken answer by requesting a Yes or No answer, last digits of user's card and full name, or a user pin number for using the IVR which is normally issued by the banks. Interactive Voice Response is known to be the oldest form of mobile banking technology. IVR has been used prior to the existence of mobile phones in the form of telephone banking and is still in use today. [6]

IVR requires a registered user to make a call in the bank or anywhere to the banks' phone number which will be answered by a pre-recorded voice.

The interactive voice response system will then take the command request instructions from the user by recording the tones of the number the user keyed in or if through speaking, the words heard. [20]

The service provider would use the consumer's mobile number forwarded by the network operator to identify the user and as a factor of authentication.

Finally, IVR means of banking is user friendly but may be expensive to the user who needs to make what can be a relatively lengthy call. This will be dependent on who pays for the call depending on whether it is a free number or not. [20]

Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)

WAP (Wireless Protocol Application) is a mobile banking system that uses a similar method used in internet banking, whereby it uses a wireless communication. It was implemented to allow easy access to the Internet from a mobile device, PDA or MDA. [14]

Banks monitor their websites in which their customers are authorized to access using mobile devices which should have a WAP compatible browser. WAP browser provides most of the necessary services of a computer based web browser. The difference on a mobile device is its simplicity in operation regardless of the restrictions in the size of memory and speed. WAP or mobile internet banking offers a consumer a similar experience to that of internet banking. [20]

To obtain internet connectivity on a mobile device, the device should be WAP enabled and the website information should be described in a wireless markup language format. The consumer would browse to a mobile internet site by accessing the WAP browser on their mobile phone and entering the website address. The actual banking application resides at the bank and is secured and monitored in the same way as an internet banking website. [6]

The mobile phone and bearer (GPRS) is used to display or transmit the data between the consumer and the bank. A user's mobile device would need to be capable (functionality developed and loaded by the handset manufacturer) and have the right configuration (provided by the bank) in order to support WAP Banking.[20]

Mobile Client Application (Standalone application)

Mobile client applications are most suitable to implement in complex banking transaction. It enables the implementation of very secure and reliable platform of communication. [20] Mobile client application has its disadvantages, one of which is the application will need to be programmed to each mobile device which may not be possible for old mobile devices are not Java compatible or web enabled. In the future, there will be possible increase in user service and support issues due to the growth in technology and its rapid expansion. Another disadvantage is that not all mobile devices have similar user interfaces or operating systems. J2ME works along with the API for devices which have similar functionalities. This is basically called ‘the profile' as explained in chapter 2. This type of mobile banking platform is rapidly developing in the global market. They have evolved to give users access to services that require faster and richer connectivity to their financial data.

Moreso, mobile client application is different from WAP (which involves browsing the web to locate the bank's website), for it should be downloaded to a mobile device where once clicked, it will require the user to enter an authentication key provided to identify the exact user. The authentication will be verified by the bank server application. The combination of mobile client application on the mobile device and the server component enables easy access to banking services, a strong authentication and also an encryption of the user's data. [19]

Mobile client application offers secure and powerful application functionality while protecting the user and the application dad on the mobile device.

There are currently different smart phone operating systems which are stated: The blackberry, palm, linux, symbian, windows mobile etc.

Data Security in implementing Mobile Application

There are a different mobile devices and these development have shown a hugh concern for financial institutions in providing mobile banking solutions to any kind of mobile device. Some of these devices support J2ME (Java Enabled) and others support WAP or only the SMS system.[20] Security of financial transactions on mobile devices are executed from remote location in which is a major concern for mobile banking providers. This is due to the transmission of financial information over the air which need to be addressed by mobile application developers .Challenges have solutions and this is discussed below[20]:

  • The user ID and password authentication for access to a Customer's financial data;
  • The security detector of the client application running on the device;
  • The authentication of the device with the server before initiating a transaction;
  • The Encryption of the data to be transmitted over the air to minimise hacking;

Financial institutions would need to be mindful of securing the data of its customers been transferred from the server to the client application. For example, an SMS system of banking requires an addition of a full encryption of data both on the mobile device and over the air in order to assure a more secure means of transferring data for SMS can be accessed with authirisation. This form of security can also be applied to the mobile client application platform. [19]. To eliminate risks involved in mobile banking, data can be sent using a hybrid solution which combines SMS with a web application in terms of confirming user identity to data is transferred. [19] With mobile banking, customers can access their financial records from anywhere in the world, hence banks or financial institutes need to ensure that the systems are updated and running on a 24/7 basis. As customers find mobile banking more useful, so will their expectations of security measures increase. [20]

Mobile client application is said to be a more secure mobile banking platform for transmitting of data, for a bank server can allow for strong authentication and an encryption of customer's data; It can be at risk of malware attacking the client application on the mobile device. [19]

CHAPTER 4

IMPLEMENTATION OF MOBILE BANKING APPLICATION

DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF MOBILE BANKING

The implementation of mobile banking using Java programming language encompasses the enablement to understand Java and its platform (J2ME).

From a point of view, Mobile banking applications are differentiated by a runtime environment in which they are executed. These differences are:

  • Native platforms and operating systems, such as Symbian, Blackberry windows mobile and Linux.
  • Mobile Web/browser runtimes such as webkit, mozilla/ firefox etc.
  • Managed platforms and Virtual Machines such as Java/J2ME, BREW etc., which are used in implementing the mobile client application platform. [19] [26]

As the topic of the project implies, the mobile banking platform chosen to be implemented is the mobile client application. Mobile client application is a rapidly growing field of the global mobile market thereby expanding in different nations and bringing awareness of the technology in mobile devices, though hardly known all over the world. The application gives a customer access to banking services that is required and in a faster method than any other mobile platforms used.

The client application on the mobile device and the server component enables transactions to be assessed including the access to all mobile banking functionalities, strong authentication and encryption of sensitive data.

Based on my research about mobile banking in West Africa, banks and financial organisation use the SMS and WAP mobile banking in which very few offer Mobile Client Application services. The reason why mobile client application is not commonly used is due to several factors not considered by banks and financial services (including MNOs). [20]

In Nigeria, only two banks (Intercontinental bank plc and PHB bank) have introduced mobile client application platform to their customers. In Ghana, banks are still yet to implement the platform.

MOBILE CLIENT APPLICATION - DESCRIPTION

The basis of the J2ME platform comprises two concepts which are configurations and the profiles. These concepts are used to define ways of implementing Java.

The J2ME Universe

In figure 3.2 profiles and configurations are outlined to show the structure of the implementation process in the mobile technology.

Configurations present complete Java executable environment composed of three parts:

Java VM (Java Virtual Machine) which executes bytecode, interface between genuine code and implementation system, set of basic Java Runtime classes. J2ME platform defines two configurations, CLDC (Connected Limited Device Configuration) and CDC (Connected Device Configuration). CLDC encompasses mobile phones, pagers, PDAs and other mobile devices. It is also aimed at smaller devices than the CDC. [16]

CLDC is designed for devices with memory ranging from 160KB to 512KB available for the java platform. CLDC is also known to be based around a small JVM called the KVM.

CDC is a connected device which has a minimum 512KB of read - only memory (ROM), 256KB of random access memory (RAM).

It is also designed for devices such as car navigation systems, PDAs etc. [12] Profiles are sets of a high-level APIs which defines the application life-cycle model and access to mobile device-specific properties. These APIs are set of new classes, new functionalities not introduced in basic configurations. These APIs include classes for user interface, persistent storage and networking.

For example, most of profiles define classes for interactive user interface development. Profile which is widely used on mobile devices is Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP), based on CLDC configuration. MIDP specification defines hardware, software and network requirements as well as application management. MIDP is designed to be used on mobile devices with limited resources, like processor power, amount of memory, keyboard and screen. This specification has classes for HTTP protocol. [12]

DEVELOPMENT

Implementing a MIDlet code using the Java technology is a way of developing a program that will only function when applied on an emulator. A MIDlet is a basic J2ME program package. The Java technology is a suitable development environment because presently many mobile phones in the market come with a standard built in Java Virtual Machine (JVM). The Java technology also has many libraries to assist in the mobile application development. The java platform that is going to be used is the Micro Edition (J2ME) which is specifically designed for consumer devices with limited memory, display capabilities and resources.

Within this platform there are two configurations that is the Connected device Configuration (CDC) which is known for devices that have a minimum memory of 2MB used by java VM and its class libraries; The Connected Limited device configuration (CLDC) which is classified as the building block on which J2ME profiles are built. [16]

In the implementation process we will be using the (CLDC) configuration because the defined characteristics of the cellular handset fall under this category. [16]

The CLDC defines a specification for a JVM and a set of java classes (libraries). The minimum software and hardware requirements for CLDC are:

  • 128 kilobytes of memory for running the JVM and CLDC libraries.
  • 32 kilobytes of volatile memory for runtime memory allocation.
  • The host Operating system capable of launching and selecting applications. [13]

DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

J2ME is a feature that allows the device to run small, user-installable software applications written especially for mobile devices such as phones. it requires a mobile phone that can support GPRS, GPS or EDGE in order to download application assuming the mobile phone is not pre-provisioned with the application.

The mobile phone will have enough memory capability to support the application and have sufficient graphic ability to display the application. Once installed on the mobile phone, the application would use WAP, GPRS, GPS or SMS to transfer the consumers' data or instruction from the device to the service provider. This can be in an encrypted format.

The mobile client application environment can be downloaded onto the mobile device and used across any Java enabled mobile device that supports mobile internet. A consumer would browse through his mobile phone menu until they finds the J2ME application, select and launch the application, and follow the Java browser menus to complete a transaction. The data is typically encrypted prior to leaving the handset and being sent to the financial service or bank. Once received, the financial institution or bank would decrypt the message and process the consumer's instruction. [16]

MOBILE APPLICATION COMPONENT

One of the main focuses of the project is writing a Java (MIDlet) code to the mobile application component. This component will reside on the mobile device which will capture all the security information from the user. This information comprises of the user's financial details and will be used in generating the secure message that is sent to the server.

To ensure confidentiality a symmetric encryption algorithm using a one time password entered by the user will be used. This password will only be known by the server application and the user (which is stored on the client application on the mobile device).[14]

On completing processing, the secure message will then be sent to the server through the Wireless network or GPRS.

The Server will be responsible for receiving and decoding the secure message sent.

The server will check to ascertain that the message is suitable for a secure protocol. It will then proceed to check for the account identifier from the message and find out if the identifier exists in the server database. After the above check the server decrypts the message using the one time password. The password will be discarded when the decryption is successful. The transaction will finally be performed when all the security checks have passed.

Finally the back-up database will serve as a store for the user's financing and security details. The communication between the server and the back-up database will be independent from the one between the mobile device and the server. In this project we shall specifically concentrate on the security of communication between the server and the mobile application.[9]

SOFTWARE ENVIRONMENT

The software used in the development and implementation of the mobile client application are listed below:

Software

  • Sun Java Wireless Toolkit Version 2.5.2
  • Java ME SDK 3.0 for Windows
  • MySQL 5.5.1
  • JDBC Connector 5.1.11
  • Java â„¢ SE Runtime Environment 6
  • Java â„¢ SE Development Kit 6
  • Apache Tomcat 6.0.20
  • NetBeans IDE 6.8
  • Edit plus ( For web development PHP or ASP.NET)
  • Microsoft Notepad or Microsoft Word to write the report
  • Microsoft Active Sync (Microsoft Windows)

HARDWARE ENVIRONMENT

The hardware devices used in the implementation of the application are listed below:

Hardware

  • Mobile (Java enabled) device
  • Desktop PC or Laptop
  • Internet Wireless device (Wireless LAN, Router etc.)

IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS

Using the software development life cycle model to derive a result in implementing the application is what i adopted. An iterative model builds each step of the work that was prescribed in the previous step with no deviation from the model. Because of the rigid structure of the methodology, iterative life-cycle model is praised for its control over projects and its ability to develop better quality systems. [17]

Steps of iterative model

An iterative lifecycle [17] model does not attempt to start with a full specification of requirements, rather development begins with specifying and implementing part of the software in which can be reviewed in order to derive further requirements.

This process is then repeated to derive a new technique for the software development. An illustration of this process is shown below:

PHASE I: REQUIREMENTS

The business area is analyzed to determine whether the system can cost effectively support the business requirement and the requirements of the project to be developed are identified. The structure is implementing a mobile banking application on the mobile device and then store a raw data on MySQL server.

PHASE II: DESIGN

There are various methods used in designing and implementing the application. I have used the Sun Java wireless tool kit 2.5.2 with NetBeans IDE 6.8 for implementation and testing. Also used is Edit Plus 3 programme to aid building the code. The platform used is JAVA (J2ME - CDCL)

PHASE III: IMPLEMENTATION

The implementation process involves using various codes to implement the project. There were various command codes applied, some of which are:

  • javax.microedition.lcdui - is the user interface API which provides a set of features for implementation of user interfaces for MIDP applications;
  • javax.microedition.io - which are Classes for the Generic Connection framework.
  • javax.microedition.midlet - The MIDlet package defines Mobile Information Device Profile applications and the interactions between the application and the environment in which the application runs. [25]

The MIDP implementation processes are:

  • Designing and Coding
  • Compilation
  • Pre-verification
  • Packaging
  • Deployment and Execution

For the design and coding, this involves writing the program. The applications used are EditPlus 3 and the Notepad. When compiling the program, a standard J2ME java compiler is used in which in this case, it is the Sun Java Wireless toolkit 2.5.2.

The codes are written on EditPlus3 application which is later saved to the program file. Before this is done, a new project has to be created on the Wireless toolkit as illustrated below, by default it will be stored to the system hard disk drive used.[26]

Creating a new Project

Once a new project is created, all classes generated to implement the program from Edit Plus will be stored on the source file found in the program file. These classes are therefore complied and then a pre-verification process on the Java classes prior to packaging will be performed.

This will involve the check for the use of floating point operations and finalize methods in the Java classes. Then a JAR file containing the application resources will be created. The application resources will then be will be placed under the control of the emulator. In executing the program, the application will be run using the emulator. Once the application has been run, I'll then identify and isolate program bugs and make corrections to source code.

Looking at previous steps, the pre-verification and packaging stages are new and unique steps to the J2ME application process.[25] The emulator used is J2ME wireless Toolkit emulator. The client based application process has to function in a mobile device that can be connected to a wireless device. This means the device should be Java enabled, wireless connectivity etc. To ensure the completion be the testing of the project, these steps will be examined:

  • Creating a table of users in MySQL database.
  • A username and PIN code to authenticate the use of the application.
  • Download the software onto your system (PC) or Laptop to the mobile device program to be used. For instance, if it is a Nokia device, install the software to the Nokia mobile device application installed earlier on your PC or Laptop.
  • The program then is transferred to your mobile device once synchronized to it from the desktop PC or Laptop
  • Test the program by checking if the program has been added to your list of programs on your mobile device, if identified then click to use the program.
  • A login screen will appear and you will need to input your username and PIN code
  • Once confirmed, you can then check your account balance or make payment to another customer.

An illustration on how the process is done is analyzed in figure 4.4 below:

Use case diagram for mobile client application platform

The diagram above shows how transactions take place in a mobile banking platform. Firstly, the user must register with information stored in the server after which once confirmed, a unique PIN number will be assigned. He will need to login on a Java enabled mobile device to access his account and make payment. For each transaction done, it is normally be verified by the server which authorizes such transactions to execute.

PHASE IV: TEST

In other to test the device, it should be run in the application used as shown below:

Testing process:

  1. The MIDlet file is saved as a JAD file and then compiled as a JAR file
  2. The Mobile device used should be Java enabled or Wireless (GPS,GPRS,3G etc.)

A Username and PIN number will be required to login and check account balances. This is also done in the pay bill menu, though more details will be requested.

User Authentication

The user will need to input his user name and PIN in order to access his financial data. Once this has been confirmed by the server, the account balance will be displayed with other options.[25]

PHASE V: REVIEW

This is actually the final stage of the project where the execution of the project should be reviewed and then checked for errors (if any). If an error is detected, the process will begin from the planning point till the application is completed.

CHAPTER 5

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

CONCLUSION

In the previous chapters i analyzed relevant mobile banking platforms used in West Africa, their productivity and challenges when implemented. I also examined various mobile banking conditions and identified how these could be tackled. An important development discussed among mobile industries today is mobile banking with the use of Java onto mobile devices. The programming language Java, which was developed by the company ‘Sun Java' for various users especially the desktop computers and servers has the advantage of being distinguished from other platforms.[25]

Mobile client application has an edge over other mobile banking platforms in which it makes banking easier and more efficient. In regards to security, it is classified as much more demanding compared to other banking platforms, but at the moment it is identified as being the only solution which can satisfy its standards. One of its weaknesses is the complexity of the system, but there has been a lot of skepticism regarding the platform shown by financial institutions in introducing the technology which is not completely acknowledged in practice.

With further implementation of the new versions of MIDP, 3G and the introduction of 4G, it has evolved a major increase in mobile network coverage. Mobile banking application will be easily implemented and the development of banking services will spread across Africa and will increase its awareness.[8]

In the business line of mobile banking, financial institutions will need to clearly consider dynamic business models such as:

  • Cost efficiency and reduction: Banks need to increase their service of automation, operate in a more efficient manner by introducing an effective service to customers and introduce a fraud system through the use of alerting SMS service.
  • Revenue generation: Banks would have to improve customer and retention levels. This will aid in introducing new sales opportunities to customers.
  • Benefits realization: Banks would have o provide their customers with the potential to self service facilities and ability to manage their finances from anywhere at anytime.

With such implementation in place, this will help build the banks' brand and strengthen its customers' loyalty by deepening their relationship through the easy means of banking services. If all that has been mentioned above is deployed properly, the mobile banking structure in a bank will expand with further development on improved platforms that will allow continuous service and also the ability to take new techniques to the banking market.

FUTURE ENHANCEMENT AND RECOMMENDATION

In following further developments in the field of mobile banking, a new development in the field of security is the digital signature. Digital signatures are methods to clearly prove the origin of a message when it reaches a server. To use this method for mobile banking, the following would need to be in place and these are the Four Phases to a successfully implementation of mobile banking in terms of security.

Today, financial institutions are implementing and launching a complex system of mobile banking solutions from simple SMS platform to enhancing mobile technology for complex downloadable client applications. In achieving this, phases for mobile banking implementation are needed to help in choosing appropriate technologies that will ensure consumer adoption and product enhancement. These phases are:

Addressing Mobile Banking Platforms

Interacting with consumers by simple SMS platform and notifications allows for a wider range of consumer penetration and awareness which will encourage a more dynamic and complex banking service in the future. The strategy to be used in achieving this is by focusing on creating consumer awareness. The implementation process will be to apply a simple notification SMS push system to create such an awareness, for SMS system of communication exist in most West African countries. [13]

Cost savings from the Mobile platform to be implemented

As consumers begin to embrace mobile banking system, the next phase will be to create a proactive interaction with their banks or financial institutes with their mobile devices thereby reducing the cost of banking services. This will be more of advantage to banks and building societies or financial institutes. The strategy in this phase is to create a customer interaction by implementing a simple interactive service such as checking balances, retrieving current transactions etc., on a mobile device using SMS, WAP or the Client application platforms. [29][8]

Innovative fee based services to enhance mobile banking

The third phase is to implement a complex mobile service to monetize the mobile platform by offering an innovative, mobile platform services with fees charged, which will generate more revenue for banks and allow such banks to move their consumers to the next level of banking services. How this can be achieved is by creating interactive services with high security and value. The implementation to be carried out are complex services such as transferring funds, paying bills etc., by upgrading existing mobile platform with WAP or a Mobile client application.[29]

Mobile Financial Services

Being the final phase, it culminates mobile financial services which will occur when consumers are utilizing the mobile device system in their every day financial involvement.

This phase therefore will allow banks to monetize the mobile banking platforms used by implementing an unconventional financial service, thereby creating a broader mobile banking application. Advanced services can be introduced such as the micro payments, the mobile wallet, person-to-person transfers etc. This can be achieved by upgrading the existing mobile platform.

As analyzed above, each phase in the mobile banking implementation requires technological decisions to be made. For instance, in the first phase, banks can delivery of notifications to their customers in regards to an awareness of the mobile banking implementation to be carried out. There may be a high response in customer's view to such technology to be used and this will help the banks in its expansion and productivity when carrying out its duties.

It is in the second phase that banks will embark on to implement the platform that are beneficial to their customers thereby ensuring a more secure and critical strategic to ensure a reliable service.

Errors may occur which may successfully be avoided by applying the third phase where banks should have a quick access to data and a flexible architectural structure of mobile banking. Having outlined the platforms in phases two and three, this makes the migrating to phase three technologically challenging, as security and the architectural attributes have to contend with the mobile platforms that may have to be upgraded.

When implementing a mobile platform, it's strategically critical for banks or financial institutes to consider a platform that will allow upgrades to multiple mobile platforms without changing customer's data access. This means there can be a combination of the WAP and Mobile Client application without an intrusion to its data or security, thus banks will easily enhance their mobile financial services without considering investing substantial capital when applying multiple new platforms to the system.

To ensure a successful implementation process of a mobile banking platform, advanced technology and more accurate platform decisions have to be taken into consideration in the second and third phases which involves choosing a flexible and comprehensive mobile banking platform that will pave the way for further expansion in future.

For service providers, banks and financial institutes, adopting these methods explained above will be an advantage and also productive to them. Mobile banking offers a way to achieve growth in the future based on its rapid expansion in technology, thanks to Sun Java corporate.[29] Countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa where mobile penetration is nearing saturation, the idea to expand mobile banking has been discussed and banks are working together with service providers to expand awareness for mobile banking which will improve the country's revenue.

One of the latest observation is that bank now use an advanced technology of mobile banking services to attract the attention of new customers and still maintain their integrity.[29]