Ghana launches universal QR code and proxy payment system to boost digital payments, emerges first African country with such innovative technology

Ghana’s Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has launched a universal quick response code (QR Code) payment system on Wednesday, March 2, 2020.

Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia

The digital payment innovation, according to him, will serve as a game-changer in the government's quest to transform Ghana into a cashless society.

This makes Ghana the first African country to introduce such innovative technology.

Speaking at the launch, which was done online due to the Coronavirus outbreak, Dr Bawumia described the universal QR Code payment system allows a customer to make payment for goods and services to a merchant from a mobile wallet or a bank account directly from a mobile phone.

He said despite the Bank of Ghana's efforts which have led to the implementation of mobile money and other digital payment options, many merchants and customers were still reluctant to make or receive payments digitally due to many factors, including the cost of point of sale devices, processing fees and card acceptance complexities

"Even for merchants that accept electronic payments, there is no interoperability across the different banks or across the different telcos. If there is a merchant that has been acquired by Vodafone for example, then an MTN customer is not able to use their mobile account to pay that merchant. Also, if Ecobank has acquired a merchant, a GCB customer cannot use the Ecobank terminal to pay from their GCB account. So, there is no interoperability," the Vice President noted.

He was however optimistic that the introduction of the QR code system, which doesn't require the purchase of a point of sale device or attract huge charges, will be embraced by merchants and customers, and transform the economy into a cashless one.

"Our goal is to make a secure, convenient and low-cost financial service available to the vast majority of people and to solve the pain point of traditional financial institutions," he said.

"In China and many parts of Asia, the universal QR code has come as the solution to these problems that I have been talking about."

"The universal QR code will bring about interoperability across the telcos and across all the banks and between the banks and the telcos. They will all be on the same platform and this is the game-changer."

"When you go to the merchant with a universal QR Code, as long as you have a bank account from any financial institution or a mobile money account from a telco, you'll be able to pay the merchant regardless of which bank or telco has acquired the merchant or service provider instantly," the Vice President concluded.


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