Governor of the central bank, Dr. Ernest Addison, says banks must step up efforts to digitise the value chain for both merchants and users through digitisation of payments to distributors, wholesalers and retail outlets.
He made this call at the launch of GhanaPay – a mobile bank wallet for banks, savings and loans companies, and rural and community banks
Speaking at the launch, Dr. Addison said important consideration must be given to enhancing public confidence in the electronic payment systems to boost inclusive finance.
“Payment data provide deep insight into consumer and merchant behaviour. Banks have an enormous responsibility to ensure that data is not unsecured or mishandled. Data security, integrity and privacy form the basis of trust, which is crucial for the financial system to function,” the Governor said.
The country has made steady progress in migrating to electronic payments, given that in less than a decade GhIPSS Instant Pay transactions valued at GH¢420,000 in 2016 surged exponentially to GH¢31.4billion in 2021. Similarly, both the value of mobile money transactions and registered mobile money agents also increased by 13- and 4-fold respectively in 2021.
Another key development is the decline in the country’s cash usage measured by currency in circulation as a ratio of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 6.8 percent in 2016 to 4.7 percent in 2021. In addition, Ghana’s cheque usage per capita, which was 25.67 in 2016 declined to 18.9 in 2021.
The Governor noted that over the years, banks in the country have managed to re-invent themselves while responding positively to the competitive nature of the payment systems, characterised by increased consumer preferences for convenience and frictionless payment options.
GhanaPay is an innovation in the financial sector that seeks to address some of the challenges associated with the current bank-centric models by providing an open application that leverages the network infrastructure of the entire banking industry. With GhanaPay, merchants do not necessarily need to maintain banking relationships with several banks to receive bill payments from other-bank customers.
In addition, customers only need to maintain an account with a bank to make bill payments to the entire network of customers and merchants registered with GhanaPay. GhanaPay therefore facilitates resource pooling from the entire banking industry and reduces duplication.
“This collaborative effort of a common electronic wallet will enable economies of scale through the pooling of resources. By establishing this common GhanaPay mobile wallet, the cost of testing any new technology for each bank is reduced and allows new ways of doing business,” the Governor said.
He added: “Indeed, this is an exciting development for Ghana’s payment systems landscape, and demonstrates how collaboration with the banking sector can proffer solutions for transformation and deepening of the payments ecosystem”.
It is expected that the industry will be guided by this innovation and continue retooling while responding to the changing environment.