Ghana First African Country To Launch Universal QR Code and Proxy Payment System

The Vice President of Ghana, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has launched a universal quick response code (QR Code) payment system on Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

Based on his remarks the digital payment innovation will serve as a game-changer in the government’s attempt to transform Ghana into a cashless society.

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

Speaking at the launch, which was conducted virtually due to the Coronavirus outbreak, Dr Bawumia explained that the universal QR Code payment system permits a client to make payment for goods and services to a merchant from a mobile wallet or a bank account directly from a mobile phone.

He stressed that despite the Bank of Ghana’s efforts which have led to the implementation of mobile money and other digital payment options, many merchants and client were still not willing to make or receive payments digitally due to many factors, including the cost of point of sale devices, processing fees and card acceptance complexities.

Dr Bawumia pointed out, “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.”

 

However, he was hopeful that the introduction of the QR code system, which doesn’t need the purchase of a point of sale device or attract huge charges, will be embraced by merchants and customers, and convert the economy into a cashless one.

He stressed, “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. 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.”

He added, “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.”

In conclusion, he said, “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.”

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