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The Role of Mobile Banking for Small and Microenterprises amid the COVID-19 Crisis in Ghana

Last registered on October 04, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

The Role of Mobile Banking for Small and Microenterprises amid the COVID-19 Crisis in Ghana
Initial registration date
August 11, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
August 12, 2020, 10:04 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
October 04, 2021, 6:47 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

University of Michigan

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Florida International University

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
We examine how mobile banking services can assist small enterprises managing their finances amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Mobile banking allows remote access to savings and other financial services during the lockdown and once withdrawn -- enabling social distancing and reducing cash handling. We use voice messages to provide information on mobile banking to clients of a large savings and loan organisation in Ghana. By randomly assigning clients to receive voice messages, we are able to causally examine the impact of this information on take-up and use of mobile banking, and how use of mobile banking affects important downstream financial outcomes such as savings and management of business cash flow.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Riley, Emma and Abu Shochoy. 2021. "The Role of Mobile Banking for Small and Microenterprises amid the COVID-19 Crisis in Ghana." AEA RCT Registry. October 04.
Experimental Details


We use interactive voice response (IVR) and SMS messages to encourage microfinance clients of Opportunity International Saving and Loans (OISL)— a leading microfinance agency in Ghana– to take up mobile banking services. IVR enables short (1-3 minute) voice messages to be sent to a phone number. When the client accepts the call, they hear this pre-recorded message and can also answer simple questions using the keypad. The IVR and SMS are sent out weekly for a period of 12 weeks. Each week contains information about how mobile banking can be used, with a particular focus on how mobile banking can help clients save and help them manage their business finances.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Adoption of mobile banking; Use of mobile banking; making a deposit using mobile banking, making a withdrawal with mobile banking, value of deposits, value of withdrawals. Saving balance with the bank.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Knowledge of mobile banking; total savings; business profit; amount of transactions;
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We will use a Randomised Control Trial (RCT) setting to causally examine the impact of encouraging MFS utilization during the COVID-19 crisis on household and business outcomes of female microfinance clients. We propose to randomly assign 15,000 existing OISL microfinance clients equally to either receive the IVR intervention to encourage MFS use, to a placebo group whoo will receive general information about our partner bank, or to a control group that will receive no inducement to use MFS.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomisation done in STATA using the randtreat command. Stratified by loan or saving only client and accra or elsewhere in Ghana.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
15000 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
15000 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
5000 individuals per treatment arm
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Oxford University Department of Economics Research Ethics Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
October 31, 2022, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
October 31, 2022, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
5000 control 5000 Mobile banking IVR 5000 Savings IVR
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Can providing information at-scale through mobile phones increase financial technology adoption? We randomly assigned 15,000 bank clients in Ghana to receive high-frequency interactive voice response calls encouraging the adoption of mobile banking services, a technology linking a bank account and a mobile phone. Analysis using nine months of administrative records show encouragement increased the use of mobile banking by 6.3
percentage points, triple the control group mean. Those who received mobile banking encouragement reduced their trips to the bank branch by 11% but were 8% more likely to make loan repayments on time, demonstrating improved financial behavior while reducing travel expenditures.
Riley, E., & Shonchoy, A. (2022). A National Information Campaign Encouraging Financial Technology Use in Ghana (Vol. 2206). Florida International University, Department of Economics.

Reports & Other Materials