In spite of the ravaging impact of COVID-19 on people’s lives and the operations of businesses in Ghana, digital payment and settlement products under the Ghana Interbank Payment & Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) saw impressive increases in both volume and value for the year 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
Latest data from GhIPSS indicate that at the end of 2020, a total of 77 million transactions were processed across all platforms, compared to the 38 million transactions processed in 2019, representing a 103% increase.
The value of transactions processed in 2020 was GHS 254 billion, a 16% increase compared to the GHS 219 billion processed in 2019.
The report states that, the transactions captured in the GhIPSS product performance report which include electronic clearing of cheques, Automated Clearing House (ACH), e-zwich and gh-link witnessed varying levels of increase in transaction volumes.
The major contributor to this performance was Mobile Money Interoperability; processing a total of 43.9 million transactions, representing a 367% increase from 9 million transactions processed in 2019.
It also stated that the GhIPSS Instant Pay (GIP) platform also recorded significant growth in both transfers from bank accounts to mobile wallets and transfers between bank accounts across banks.
“At the end of 2020, GIP transactions increased by 257% from 1.9 million in 2019 to 6.8 million. GhIPSS also recorded introductory transactions from new services such as Proxy Pay and GhQR code,” it noted
Speaking during a media briefing, Chief Executive Officer of GhIPSS, Archie Hesse attributed the increase to COVID-19.
“The upsurge in the use of these real-time services was largely influenced by COVID-19 related factors such as: the 3 weeks lockdown which restricted the physical movements of people, public awareness through extensive education discouraging the handling of physical cash and encouraging the use of electronic alternatives and the incentivization from the financial services industry with fee waivers on their services,” he said.
For clearing house or bulk payment systems, the clearing house processed the second-highest volume of instruments and managed to record 0.10% increase to bring the total volume of cheques processed in 2020 to 14.9 million transactions.
The statement further noted that the clearing house was impacted by the 3 weeks partial lockdown as corporates who are the primary users of Cheques and ACH were unable to operate. Additionally, industries such as manufacturing, hospitality, travel and education have not been able to return to normal operations resulting in reduced economic activity.
Despite this, the clearing house still remains the preferred channel for processing high values especially by large corporate institutions. It also recorded a 9% increase in transaction value from GHS209 billion in 2019 to GHS 229 billion.