Electronic Payment system for recharge of prepaid meters

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Price: 2000 Naira (BSC, MSC)

ABSTRACT

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  1.  Background Of Study

Prepayment utility meters systems provide medium through which customers purchase utility units that enable them use services like electricity, water, waste, cable among others, in advance (Bruce, 2006). The introduction of prepaid meters in the early part of last decade was received with great expectation that billing issues would be over. It was a feeling of freedom at last from the erstwhile electromechanical meters used for billing at that time. The use of prepaid meters for billing electricity consumption was to eliminate most of the challenges hitherto faced with use of the old meters. Such challenges include wrongly calculated bills as a result inaccurate reading of meters; general human errors in bill preparation; payment of bills through wrong agents among several others. The prepaid meters on the other hand brought about a number of benefits to both users and system that include(Bruce, 2006; and Omijeh, 2012) elimination of monthly bills or collection hassles; reduced operational costs; elimination of disconnects and reconnects; immediate collection of revenue; among others. The prepaid meters work by measuring actual electrical use and removing units in real-time (Omijeh, 2012).

Although these benefits exist, there is the need to take advantage of the advances in technology to further improve on the benefits. For instance in the Covenant University community which we considered for this work, the processes leading to the final purchase of electricity units appear to be long and inconvenient to most consumers. Consumers in need of electricity units usually have to first pay the amount required at the bank, convert the duplicate teller to a receipt before going to the point of purchase. The question to ask is whether it is possible to evolve a system that eliminates all these unnecessary procedures that waste time. It is in response to this, that a simple prepaid system was proposed as a solution to the issue.

There have been several efforts in Nigeria and other parts of the world to build similar systems for various reasons and needs of people. In 2006, (Stanescu, 2006) designed and implemented a SMS -based control for monitoring systems. The SMS component was used for status reporting such as power failure. However, the work did not consider issues that concern billing for electricity usage.

The work of (Sharma, 2011) proposed a method for using telecommunication systems to automate transmission of data to facilitate bill generation at the server end and also to the customer via SMS, Email. Ling Z., 2010 also developed a card reader-based prepaid electricity metering system but for a multiphase system. The work of (Malik, 2009) focused on the controlling of home appliances remotely and providing security when the user is away from the place using an SMS- based wireless Home Appliance Control.

Maheswari, 2009developed an energy efficient and low cost solution for street lighting system using Global System for Mobile communication [GSM] and General Packet Radio Service [GPRS]. The whole set-up provides the remote operator to turn off the lights when not required, regulate the voltage supplied to the streetlights and prepare daily reports on glowing hours

Amit, 2011 proposed in their paper, a prepaid energy meter behaving like a prepaid mobile phone. The meter contains a prepaid card analogous to mobile SIM card. The prepaid card communicates with the power utility using mobile communication infrastructure. Once the prepaid card is out of balance, the consumer load is disconnected from the utility supply by the contactor. The power utility can recharge the prepaid card remotely through mobile communication based on customer requests. The work of Wasi-ur-Rahman, 2009 focused on the design and implementation of an intelligent sms-based remote metering system.

In this project therefore, we present the design and implementation of a web-based electricity prepaid system for a university community. The remaining sections of this paper are divided into review of related work, system requirements, system design and modeling, system implementation and conclusion.

Electronic commerce, commonly written as e-commerce, is the trading or facilitation of trading in products or services using computer networks such as the internet.E-commerce paymentsystem is one of the main requirements in e-commerce which is the ability to accept a form of electronic payment. This form of electronic payment is referred to as Financial Electronic Data Interchange (FEDI). Financial electronic data interchange has become increasingly popular over the last number of years due to the widespread of use of the internet based shopping and banking through the use of credit cards and smart cards.

Over the years, credits cards have become one of the most common forms of payment for e-commerce transactions. In the early years of the business to consumer, many consumers were apprehensive of using their credit cards over the internet because of fear that their credit cards numbers would get stolen. However, due to increased security with credit card companies such as Visa, American Express and MasterCard there is widespread use of credit card use over internet, especially in North America. Despite this widespread use in North America, there are still a number of countries such as China, India and Pakistan that have some problems to overcome in regards to credits card security. In the meantime, the use of smartcards has become popular. A smartcard is similar to a credit card.

This free online service allows consumers and businesses to send money to anyone with an email address in 45 countries.  PayPal is accepted by thousands of businesses worldwide and is the preferred payment method on eBay.com. PayPal is now owned by ebay.com are usually assessed a fee (either to the recipient or to the sender) to recoup the transaction fees charged to the media.

Electronic bill present and payment is fairly new technique that allows consumers to view and pay bills electronically. There are significant numbers of bills that consumers pay on a regular basis, which include: power bills, water, oil, internet, phone service, mortgages, car payments etc. Electronic bills present payment systems that send bills from service providers to individual consumers via the internet.

The biggest difference between Electronic bill present and payment systems and the traditional method of bill payment is that of technology. Rather than receiving a bill through the mail, writing out and sending a check, consumers receive their bills in an email, or are prompted to visit a website to view and pay their bills.[http://www.google.com].

1.2   Statement Of Problem

It has been observed that most power holding company of Nigeria firms make use of paper based payment systems when making available prepaid meters services such as recharge of meter, bill generation whether post-paid or prepaid, transaction and pin based operations.

  1. There is less security in the manual system.
  2. The problem of using paper receipt to litter the environment.
  3. The problem of fake smart cards that is using fake pins.
  4. Errors such as transposition of figures in the smart card.

1.3 Aim Of The Study

The aim of study is to design and implement an electronic payment system for recharge of prepaid meters through mobile application.

  1. Objectives Of The Study

The objectives of this project are as follows:

  1. To design an electronic voucher management and payment system.
  2. To provide a systems requirement document for the design and implementation of such an application.
  3. To evaluate the project’s results, provide recommendations of refinements and enhancements for interested system developers and designers.

1.5 Scope of Study

The study cover the design and implementation of electronic payment system for recharge of prepaid meters for top leading power holding company of Nigeria.

1.6 Significance of Study

The significance of the study of this project is to bring to light the advantages of Online or mobile electronic payment system for recharge of prepaid meters, the earring problems associated with the manual method and how this problems can be solved using online techniques and the best approach in which we can go about solving problems involving recharging is through mobile online application.

1.7 Limitation Of The Study

However, there are also areas of limitation due to some uncontrollable factors which include the following:

  1. Shortage of personnel to carryout research to a logical conclusion.
  2. Reluctance of PHCN providing adequate and concise information.
  3. Financial limitation in carrying adequate research in for the project.
  4. Time constraint in concluding the detailed project.
  5. Policy of the respondent company.
  6. Insufficient information regarding the topic being discussed.
  1.  Definition Of  Term
  2. E-commerce:Refers as electronic commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services or transmitting of funds or data over an electronic network,primarily the internet.
  3. FEDI: Refers as Financial Electronic Data Interchange is the computer-to-computer exchange of payment and payment- related information between companies using a standard format.
  4. PayPal:Is used to send and receive payments through the internet.
  5. Credit card:Is a card issued by a financial company giving the holder an option to borrow funds, usually at point of sale. It charges interest and primarily used for short-term financing.

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