Look to partnerships to fast track digital payment growth  – Visa Country Manager

Adoma Peprah, Visa Country Manager

To speed up attainment of a cashlite to cashless society, all stakeholders in the digital payment space must work together irrespective of their differences, Adoma Peprah-Country Manager of Visa, the global payments technology company, has said.

“To achieve a truly digital economy and drive financial inclusion objectives, all key stakeholders in the ecosystem must learn to collaborate. This includes but is not limited to the banks, fintechs, regulators and card schemes. This is important if we are to reduce the dependency on cash.

“At Visa, we constantly seek partnerships with players in the ecosystem. Even when we disagree on approach, we ensure that the focus remains on getting more unbanked people into the formal banking system. This is what drives us to continue working together and finding new ways to deliver on financial inclusion,” she said.

In an exclusive interview with the B&FT to analyse the company’s impact since opening a permanent office in Accra this year, Ms. Peprah – who is Visa’s first Country Manager based in Accra – noted that since arriving there have been better engagements with stakeholders by regulators, banks and fintechs that were not possible when operations were being carried out from Nigeria.

“Not long after we arrived we signed a strategic partnership agreement with expressPay, a local financial technology player. The company is a key partner in terms of enabling digital payment,” she said.

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Visa, she noted, is in the process of signing up a few other bank partners; but so far the relationship with expressPay is yielding some very good results and the company is very impressed by the shift in digital payment it is seeing through expresPay.

To her, if the central bank’s dream of increasing financial inclusion to 75 percent by 2020 is to be realised, then fintechs must be roped-in to play the critical role of driving growth aggressively. “Fintechs are nimble, reactive to what is happening within the landscape. In addition, the big players cannot get you everything. We at Visa are all about partnerships and collaborations, and we are really looking forward to doing more of that next year.”

Universal QR code requires interoperability, constant education to succeed

With Vice President Mahamudu Bawamia recently noting that Ghana will launch its own universal QR Code before 2019 comes to a close, Ms. Peprah lauded the initiative but called for interoperability and consistent education in order for it to be a success.

“What we have done as a country very well is capture mobile; and so for any payment platform that utilises mobile devices, we as Africans must be at the forefront of it. QR is a great way of enabling digital payment because most people are already used to the ease of making mobile payments. QR brings the ability to scan and make payments without much texting. I think it has the potential to revolutionise merchant payment.

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“But to make it very successful, it needs interoperability. Any phone that is enabled for QR should be used to scan and pay across the globe. Also, education and awareness is key to seeing this become very successful.

“What we need to do is get to the local people and speak to them about the benefits of utilising QR codes for payment. It is not just about executing the solution, but also educating the general populace to understand what it means to use QR code for making payments,” she said.

To her, payments need to be simple and convenient – and she thinks QR is simple and convenient. And so, if it is done well in terms of education and awareness, she believes QR could shift payments in this country.

“The mode of education is equally important. As a mobile-led country, a campaign on billboards may not be the right approach; reaching the people via their mobile phones could rather be the best way of achieving results. We are increasingly consuming our media via our phones, and so in educating consumers we must utilise mobile.”

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