The Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems, GhIPSS, says it is anticipating a high patronage of a new QR Code for retail purchases and other transactions.
Currently, almost all banks have their unique QR codes for electronic payments, a development that restricts customers to only use their bank’s QR Code at a point of sale.
The universal QR code is expected to be launched next month. When launched, a customer can scan the code to make payment with his or her smartphone or a feature phone by dialing a code to be displayed at the merchant’s shop.
The Universal QR Code is part of government’s digitization agenda to reduce the use of cash payments for goods and services.
The CEO of GhIPSS, Archie Hesse, told Citi Business News the new platform should cost much less compared to other payment platforms.
“You would have an app from your bank that is linked to your bank account or wallet, so that it represents the card, and you can use these two instruments to effect payment. So it is basically a cheaper way of effective payment. One other advantage of the QR code is that right on the GhIPSS instant pay (GIP), merchants receive their payment instantly, as opposed to the card where merchants receive their payment the following day. So basically, what we are doing is looking at cheaper ways to make payments easier, more convenient in terms of the customer or the person who is paying and also for the merchant”.
2019 interbank payment performance
GhIPSS processed a total number of 38 million interbank transactions in 2019 representing, a 42% increase over 2018 in which 26 million transactions were processed.
The 2019 performance was driven by the growth in the use of the GhIPSS Instant Pay (GIP) service to move funds from bank accounts into mobile money wallets which grew by 1,224 percent when compared to 2018 volumes.
Similarly, transactions between mobile money platforms (mobile money interoperability) and services on the e-zwich platform also contributed to the growth in transaction volumes with 317 percent and 39 percent increase respectively.
Even though transaction volumes increased, the value of these transactions dipped by 8 percent from GH¢240 billion in 2018 to GH¢ 220 billion to 2019.
This decline was a result of the reduction in the value of interbank cheques that were cleared over the period.
While the value of cheques processed in 2018 was GH¢149 billion, for the same period in 2019, the total value of interbank cheques processed was GH¢124 billion representing a decline of 16%.
This decline was driven by the reduction in the value of interbank cheques issued by large corporates who form the majority of customers who issue cheques for business transactions.
In line with global trends, electronic payments in Ghana are gravitating towards mobile payment options, especially with the introduction of real-time and digital financial services.
Most organizations are also beginning to appreciate the security and convenience that come with the use of electronic funds transfer services like ACH Direct Credit.
The growth in the transaction volumes for the e-zwich services can be attributed to the use of this platform by the government for the payment of beneficiaries of most of its social intervention programs.
In 2019, the number of beneficiaries on the LEAP programme paid via e-zwich increased from 213,000 households in 2018 to 323,000 in 2019.