The mobile money payments interoperability system launched last week aims at facilitating cashless transactions and is meant to capture the over-60 percent of the population that is unbanked and rope them into the banking system by increasing the supply of money in the financial service sector.
Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, who performed the launch, noted that through the interoperability platform large amounts of money and savings held outside the banking system will be deposited in the banks.
Since millions of Ghanaians own and use mobile phones, and have caught onto to mobile money transactions, it is the perfect platform to rope the informal sector into the financial services sector. Hence, from conservative estimates, if the inoperability payments are delivered successfully we can posit that around 70 percent of the population will be covered under the bankable population.
So much for the elation, but equally it is important to recognise that for the platform to be very successful we have to put measures in place which ensure a robust system that can tackle cybercrime or electronic fraud, since it is on the ascendancy and poses a threat to the banking industry.
Recently, it came to light that as much as 50 percent of mobile money transactions experience some form of fraud, and this has to be factored if indeed we hope to increase the number of people in the formal financial service sector.
Cybercrime is the single largest threat to the banking system, and we really need to put measures in place to reduce the penchant of criminals to latch onto the platform to steal money. However, if we are able to ensure the right measures are in place, we are left in no doubt that the platform can be a game-changer in the financial services sector.
For one, it will greatly reduce the high charges which threaten the growth of mobile money. Previously, transacting with another network attracted high charges; however, with the new operability system charges will be direct and also enhance commerce – which is important for the country’s general business climate.
Mobile money transactions have greatly transformed the way business is conducted in the country and the same benefits can be derived from interoperability and promote a cash-lite economy.