Non-cash Retail Payment Instruments adoption soars … Some key contributing factors

Imagecredit: Zenithbank.com

Governments over the years have in close collaboration with the central bank pushed high the agenda of a cashlite Ghana. These efforts have become more evident in recent times, with various initiatives in the payment industry.

We have as a country far gone beyond just bank card payments to more sophisticated options within the digital payment ecosystem.

The central bank’s reports in recent years have acknowledged the immense contribution from the banks, telecoms and Fintechs toward the rapid development we are all witnessing today.

This piece is focused on highlighting some important observations made in the yearly Payment System Reports by the BoG.

Increasing Non-Cash Transactions

It’s very significant that recent reports have noted that there is a great increase in the adoption of non-cash retail payment instruments. Various factors have contributed to the rise in number of non-cash payments we see today.  Among the reasons stated is the driving force of both government and the central bank.

Reports over the years have also attributed the exponential growth of the digital payment ecosystem to continuous active mobile money subscriber usage. More and more Ghanaians have warmed up to the benefits of quick access to their monies using the mobile money enablement. BoG acknowledges that the higher mobile phone penetration has contributed to the phenomenon we see today.

Also reported over the years is the increase in number of payment cards issued by various banks and financial service providers to their customers. This observation suggests that customers have been empowered to use alternative payment options as opposed to cash only.

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Aside from the issuance of payment cards, there has also been effort by various banks to provide point of sale terminals at retail points where customers can use those cards.

Banks & FinTech Partnerships

As stated in previous articles, the new Ghanaian is looking for better ways to manage his or her money; having quick access to them anywhere and anytime. BoG agrees that customers’ continuous demand for faster, easier and more effective payment options is also a contributing factor to the increased number of FinTech activities in Ghana.

Rather than being a threat to banking business, BoG has observed over the years that FinTechs have made strategic collaborations with banks in creating some amazing products for the Ghanaian market.

These partnerships have helped to solve many pressing needs of Ghanaians, who want better ways of managing their daily monetary transactions.

The 2017-year report mentioned some of these products, which include Zenith Bank Visa Money. This, the central bank reports, is done in collaboration with ExpressPay Limited. It is a money transfer service that allows the bank’s customers to quickly transfer funds between VISA cards.

Interoperability

Another key driver that one can now deduce from BoG’s reports is the ability to transfer funds across various platforms. This was a really big challenge some few years back, but today a subscriber on one network can transfer funds to another subscriber on a different network seamlessly.

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The reports also highlighted that transfer of funds between mobile money accounts and bank accounts has now been made possible.

EMV Standard:

Over the years, the central bank’s efforts in getting almost the various banks to migrate from magnetic strip card to the globally accepted standard of Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV) standard has been a massive boost to the payment ecosystem.

Security:

A continuous effort in ensuring a safe and secure payment ecosystem has been big on the agenda for the central bank.  The bank acknowledges that strategic partnerships such as the one with the NIA can facilitate biometric authentication of customer’s identity in the near-future.

The Bank stated that it has also urged service providers within the digital ecosystem to implement robust measures in safeguarding all digital payment processes.

Global

The Bank’s reports have always acknowledged various global developments which have enhanced the adoption of digital payment options.

For example, there has been a general increase in mobile phone penetration, especially, in developing economies. This has become a big booster for various governments to enable digital payments as part of efforts to get the usually large unbanked population onboard the financial train.

All over the world there is a continuous improvement of processes, systems and policies, not only to encourage more players to join the digital ecosystem but also to safeguard their operations.

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