The Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems, GhIPSS, will on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, launch the Universal QR Code and Proxy Pay platforms as part of measures to enhance digitized payments as the government pursues its cashless agenda.
The code will among other things help businesses including those in the informal sector accept payments for the purchase of their goods and services through the scanning of uniquely generated universal codes.
Following the enforcement of some protocols on avoiding large gatherings in the wake of COVID-19, GhIPSS has announced that the launch will involve a gathering of not more than twenty people, whiles the event will be streamed online.
Speaking to Citi Business News ahead of the launch, the Chief Executive Officer of GhIPSS, Archie Hesse, said the platform would offer relatively cheaper payment options to consumers.
“You would have an app from your bank that is linked to your bank account or to your wallet. That then represents the card and you can use these two instruments to effect payments. So, it is basically a cheaper way of effecting payments. One other advantage of the QR Code is that, it rides on the GIP, that is the GhIPSS Instant Pay Reels. So, merchants receive their payment instantly as opposed to the card where merchants receive their payments the following day. So, basically, what we are doing is looking at cheaper ways to make payments easier and more convenient,” he said.
Currently, almost all banks have their unique QR codes for electronic payments, a situation that limits customers to only use their bank’s QR Code at a point of sale. The introduction of a universal QR Code for all banks will harmonize QR Code payment systems in Ghana, thereby allowing merchants to receive payments from various consumer funding sources on any platform.
2019 interbank payment performance
Last year, GhIPSS administered a total number of 38 million interbank transactions representing, a 42% increase over 2018 in which 26 million transactions were processed.
According to them, 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 and services on the e-zwich platform also accounted for the growth in transaction volumes with 317 percent and 39 percent increase respectively.
Even though transaction volumes increased, the value of these transactions also 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.