Digesting the Payment Systems & Services Act,2019 (Pt.1)

” A person who engages in electronic money business without a licence from the Bank of Ghana commits an offence…..” Ref: The Payment Systems and Services Act 2019 ( Act 987)

Ghana’s growing digital economy has brought a lot of changes in our everyday endeavours. We are today witnessing a great shift from the traditional way of doing things to a more electronic underpinning of almost every activity.

The business environment is seeing tremendous changes in the way service and products are being offered. Consumer expectations have also changed significantly. Today, customers are demanding faster responses to queries than ever before. It is commonplace for people to demand delivery of goods to their doorsteps, after purchase either online or via phone conversation.

Job roles are also being redefined in every sector of our economy. Today, it’s essential for every Accountant to familiarise him/herself with some Accounting Information System in order to remain relevant in the world market.

Government’ efforts in pushing the digital agenda can’t be underestimated.

The tremendous effects from the introduction of technological tools and innovations within the financial industry are obvious. I stated in my previous article that introduction of the Payment Systems and Services Act, 2019, is in the right direction because it will from this very moment begin to sanitise the payment ecosystem here in Ghana. With over 13.1million estimated mobile money accounts recorded, one will agree that it is imperative for the central bank to begin supervising activities with the ecosystem.

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In the next series of articles, I intend to help us highlight and discuss some key portions of the Act.

Characteristics of our payment system

Our digital payment system in Ghana today is characterised by the following:

1. Mobile money transfers or remittances: It seems everyone one today in Ghana is aware of the ability to transfer money via the mobile phone. Even though the majority of us can’t do that on our own, with the help of agents scattered around the country almost everyone is able to do so.

2. Today, mobile services include savings and loans. So, one can get a microcredit facility and make repayment via the phone.

3. There also various digital or electronic investment products available today in the market.

4. People can now make direct online payment as they shop online. This is a very significant boost for ecommerce activities in the country.

5. Banking from everywhere is now possible. No need to be necessarily physically present at the bank to carry out banking activities. By simply logging in via Internet or using short codes one can do so.

Some banks even have mobile apps that give customers access to perform selected banking transactions.

BoG’s Role

No activity within the payment ecosystem shall be done without the knowledge of the central bank. Thus, irrespective of the applied technological tool used to enable payment for goods or services, it must conform to regulations of the BoG.

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The BoG is further empowered by the Act to properly regulate existing activities of, especially, the non-banking institutions and the expected number of them which will be encouraged to come on board.

Having the BoG as regulator serves as an assurance for consumers to freely or comfortably use the various e-payment interventions, knowing they will be protected in case of any mishap.

Mobile money agent operations are also going to be well-regulated to ensure that only authorised individuals or institutions can offer such services

Your payment service provider

The significant set of services to expect from your licenced payment service provider include:

Electronically enabling the transfer of funds between accounts. This can be done either through bank-wiring or e-money transfer between devices.

Also, providing you with various payment cards for retail payments; for example, at shops, restaurant etc.

Setting up an online payment platform – for example, online retailers such as www.africakart.com – to accept payment from customers.

…to be continued….

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