Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, says the launch of the Universal GH QR Code and the Proxy Pay platform should ease the difficulties associated with the payment for goods and services. The two platforms are part of plans to enhance digital payments as the government pursues a cash-lite agenda.
Already, the COVID-19 pandemic has partially impacted the use of cash as people are being encouraged to resort to digital payments to reduce face to face interaction and possible spread of the virus.
Speaking at the launch of the two products on Wednesday [March 25, 2020], Dr. Bawumia was hopeful Ghana could join other countries to facilitate trade and reduce the burden that comes with the use of cash for payments.
“Most merchants or service providers do not accept electronic payments because of the high cost of the PoS devices which could be between 1 to 3%. Then there is also acceptance complexity due to different acceptance methods for cards, mobile money and other transfer types which creates friction between merchants and customers. Also, there are settlement complexities which can be quite cumbersome,” he said.
According to the Vice President, the absence of an interoperable system and the charges with existing payment platforms have contributed to the low patronage which needs to be reviewed.
“Even for merchants that accept electronic payments, there is no interoperability among the different banks or telcos,” Dr. Bawumia added.
The CEO of GhIPSS, Archie Hesse, reiterated his outfit’s commitment to develop innovative payment systems to boost financial inclusion.
“Merchants can visit any of the partner banks to register and start to use the platform for accepting payments. We are going to need the fintechs as we go along as they are the entities that will be developing the much needed applications that will be needed at the various downstream systems as we slowly graduate towards the cash-lite system,” he remarked.
Proponents of the proxy pay and Universal QR Code platforms say it is a cost effective way of payment which will among other things allow for mass participation.
The Universal QR Code solution works like a barcode at the supermarkets where a buyer scans the displayed QR code to complete payments.
With the rolling out of the platforms, Ghana joins countries like China, Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to promote digital payments.