Editorial : COVID-19 Pandemic accelerates cash-lite transactions  

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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought along in its wake disruptions never experienced in world history. However, it has presented a few opportunities and one such opportunity is that it has remarkably pushed the country’s cash-lite agenda.

Summary of Economic and Financial data (May 2020 edition) shows that mobile money platform is the biggest gainer in payment systems. In terms of monetary value, the interoperability push recorded an all-time high value of GH¢166.3 million in March compared to the GH¢126.6 million in February.

Additionally, Banks also responded to calls in reducing human to human interactions as much as possible, while making available banking services to customers by deploying more ATMs.  Data shows 20 more ATMs were deployed in March alone compared to 4 and 12 in January and February respectively.

Banks also embarked on a campaign to get their customers used to their digital platforms such as mobile and internet banking.

Retail businesses and other services also played their part in the cash-lite agenda by increasing Point of Sale (POS) terminals by 321 in March, compared to a combined 258 deployed for the two previous months.

The pandemic has greatly impacted payment systems in the country and the World Bank has said that mobile money is what will drive the financial inclusion agenda of Africa, especially Ghana and COVID-19 has brought that to the fore.

Consumer behavior has been greatly impacted by the novel coronavirus and we believe going forward, it will serve as a springboard to a veritable cash-lite economy. The change in consumer behaviour also reflected in the number of transactions recorded on the interoperability platform.

The number of transactions increased to 1,987,000 in March from 1,554,000 the previous month, a 27.8 percent growth compared to a 2 percent decline in February. To really benefit from digitization of the economy, there is an urgent need to extend the internet broadly and its access must not be beyond the reach of the ordinary person.

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