The mobile money platform has solidified its position as the most widely used and accepted payment system in the country, as data from the Bank of Ghana shows its transactional value is bigger than all the others combined.
According to the Summary of Economic and Financial report (July 2021), the mobile money payment platform has hit a transactional value of GH¢89.1 billion as of June this year, representing 96.6 percent jump from same period last year, making it the fastest growing payment system in the country.
On the other hand, all other payment systems combined – cheques, ACH direct debit and credit, ezwich, Gh-link, and Ghipss Instant Pay (GIP) – recorded transactional value of GH¢26.3 billion, just about a third of the value of the mobile money platform.
Cheques recorded transactional value of GH¢17.9 billion; ACH direct debit recorded GH¢105.4 million; ACH direct credit registered GH¢5.1 billion; ezwich too recorded GH¢710.7 million; Gh-link also hit GH¢33.1 million, and GIP registered GH¢2.5 billion in transactional value.
This essentially means that mobile money still remains the preferred and most convenient payment systems platform for users, as it can be easily accessed by all mobile phone users. Its ease in use has been further tested and proven by the pandemic, as fears of transmitting the disease through the use of cash pushed some who were initially skeptical about the platform, due to reported cases of fraud, to register their numbers for the service.
The number of active subscribers, therefore, has also increased to 18.3 million from 15.5 million within the one-year period under discussion. The high patronage has further created jobs for more than 140,000 people within the period, as the number of active agents has increased to 403,000 from 263,000.
Cash is still king
Despite the success chalked by the mobile money platform, cash still remains king in the economy, as most transactions are still done in hard currency, a situation the Bank of Ghana says calls for collaboration between and among banks, telecommunication companies, financial technology companies, and government to improve up on.
Speaking at this year’s MTN Ghana stakeholder forum on mobile money, Director and Head of Payment Systems of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Settor Amediku, emphasised that such collaborative efforts have fostered greater economies of scale through resource pooling of infrastructure and minimised the cost of testing new technologies, which have helped accelerate digitisation of the value chain for both merchants and users in some jurisdictions, such as Norway, where about 96 percent of payments are done digitally.
He said the central bank has taken steps to ensure Ghanaians sparingly use cash in their transactions through the consolidation of ATM networks, the introduction of the Cheque Codeline Clearing, Instant Pay services, the mobile money interoperability platform, and the Universal QR Code services, all part of the collaborative strategy aimed at eliminating fragmentation and duplication.
Mr. Amediku further stated that, the bank, as part of the policy to provide a safe financial system, has collaborated with the financial services industry to establish a financial intelligence platform to collate, analyse and disseminate real-time information on cyber threats and trends to enhance the detective capabilities of the industry.