Banks and fintechs should collaborate more to accelerate financial inclusion, says John Apea, Chief Executive Officer of eTranzact Ghana.
He said by working together, traditional financial institutions and financial technology firms (fintechs) can leverage their unique capabilities to ensure that majority of Ghanaians are brought within the financially included bracket.
An effective collaboration between the two will also build solid foundation and systems that are relevant to the Ghanaian market.
“Previously, we had a lot of unbanked people who couldn’t do transactions online, but what fintechs have been able to do is that they have been able to short-circuit us by enabling us to do what was previously not available. So your phone can be your bank; you can do transfers quickly.
“So fintechs have made the world much smaller in terms of including people who previously were financially excluded,” Mr. Apea told the B&FT.
Much of the success in the fintech space, he explained, has been chalked by working closely with traditional financial institutions to either improve on existing infrastructure or introduce innovative ones that bring both convenience and real value to customers.
More importantly, he said much more collaboration is required to localise financial products and services like payment solutions to the ever-changing needs of the domestic market.
“It is about time we started to have a system for us, by us that would recognise our different intricacies, and able to leverage on those intricacies to be able to promote economic development,” Mr. Apea said.
For instance, he said eTranzact, a leading electronic payments and service aggregation solutions provider, is able to support local financial institutions to issue GHLink cards – a domestic card payment scheme hosted on the Ghana Interbank Payment & Settlement System (GhIPSS) platform – at much cheaper cost.
By processing those cards here, he said, banks can significantly cut down on the huge sums they spend processing card transactions outside the country. This will also translate into cheaper card transaction fee for debit and credit card users.
“If we had payments systems linked to Pan-African payment processors like eTranzact, it will bring the real strength of the African economy out,” he said, adding: “So, what we do at Etranzact is very important because it has brought a lot of people into the technology space; it has brought a lot of people into the banking space, and it opens up opportunities for the informal market.”
A financially included population comes with many benefits, such as pooling resources together for development and allowing government to be able to raise revenue from the digital economy like the E-levy.
He further commended the Bank of Ghana for setting up a fintech department to support the financial technology space to flourish.