First Quarter Mobile Money Interoperability up by over 350%


Mobile money transfers across different networks – also known as Mobile Money Interoperability (MMI) – have shot up by 358 percent in the first three months of this year, compared to the same period last year.

The volume went up from 1,118,210 in the first quarter of last year to 5,126,919 transactions, according to figures from the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Ltd. (GhIPSS).

Sending money from one wallet to another on a different telecommunications network was only possible through the token system, which was complicated until the MMI was introduced in May 2018. Since its introduction, it has become easier to transfer funds across wallets of different networks. This possibility has also led many organisations to set up their systems to accept mobile money payments.

The Chief Executive of GhIPSS, Archie Hesse, said in an interview that MMI has made payments through mobile money one of the most efficient and easy to access. He, therefore, urged all businesses to accept payment from mobile money wallets as one of the default modes of payment, or risk losing out on potential income.

When MMI started, the volume of transactions hovered around 100,000 per month – but monthly transactions have since crossed the one million mark, with the month of March 2020 recording close to two million transactions.

MMI transactions include transfers from wallets to bank accounts as well as from wallets to e-zwich cards. However, these two account for less than 3 percent of the volume for transactions, implying that the overwhelming majority of transactions involve wallet to wallet transfers.

Mobile money, in general, has witnessed phenomenal success in Ghana, but this is being negated by the frequent cashback transactions which mean that, ultimately, cash is being used to make payments. In recent times, however, the introduction of merchant IDs has encouraged customers to pay directly from their wallets.

Another effort likely to result in a further drop in cashback transactions is the launch of the universal QR code for payments. This payment service will enable customers to scan the codes of merchants and pay directly from their wallets. The QR code payment is also available for feature-phone users, who will be required to dial a specific code to effect payment.

Payment using the QR code in Ghana can be made using mobile money wallet or bank accounts, as well as any other payment apps that fintechs may develop. This payment service was launched in March this year.

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