The value of retail payments (excluding cash) increased by 43.18 per cent to GH¢381.43 billion in 2017 from GH¢266.39 billion in 2016.
This growth in the value electronic retail payments for the year under review, 2017 was driven largely by the increase in the value of mobile money services and e-zwich.
This is according to a report by the Bank of Ghana. The report titled “PAYMENT SYSTEMS OVERSIGHT ANNUAL REPORT, 2017” chronicled the varied ways in which transactions carried out in the Ghanaian market are paid for.
The report highlights the many payment systems and forms in Ghana and how the use of digital payments is transforming the payment space.
The report also touches on the critical role financial technology firms popularly known as FINTECH firms are playing in the provision of payment systems or a means of carrying out payment for transactions. They also provide an array of services to the banking sector. Currently, there are 71 FinTech firms in Ghana
Mobile money which is one of the most popular and widely used mans of electronic payments has overtaken cheques as the main non-cash retail payment instrument with 981.6 million volume of transactions, followed by Debit Card (60.4 million), e-zwich (8.4 million), cheques (7.3 million) and Direct Credit Transfer (6.1 million) in 2017.
However, in terms of the value of transactions undertaken in 2017, cheques continued to maintain its lead with GH¢179.6 billion while mobile money followed closely with GH¢155.8 billion.
So the implication here is mobile money leads in terms of its usage as a means of payment for goods and services in the retail space followed by debit cards, e-zwich, cheques and direct credit transfer.
However, in terms of the total amount of monetary value of these payment systems in the retail space, cheques led the lot. Which will imply the monetary amount of cheque transactions is still higher than its peers.
The significant growth in digital payments as a preferred means of transacting retail cash payments according to the report can be attributed to conscious efforts by Government and Bank of Ghana to promote digital payments as an alternative to cash; and customers demand fast, convenient and efficient payments.
Other developments in the payment systems space
The report also captures a number of developments during the year under review such as the introduction of a number of legal and regulatory reforms such as the Payment Systems and Services Bill which was submitted to cabinet through the Ministry of Finance for onward transmission to parliament.
The Bill made provision for cybersecurity regulations and adherence to Information and Communication Technology standards to minimize cyber risk, airtime use for payment of insurance premium, agent registry, mobile money interoperability, migration of magnetic strip cards to EMV standard and support for National Identification Authority.
Digital/Electronic products and services
The report also looked at the products and services developed by banks in collaboration with other payment systems providers. These products range from automated teller machines (ATMs) for Rural and community banks (RCBs) to broaden their base to products that enable unbanked to purchase Government of Ghana domestic fixed income bonds using mobile money wallets
The government in collaboration with key stakeholders including the Bank of Ghana developed a draft National Financial Inclusion Development Strategy (NFIDS) framework
The document was developed by the government of Ghana with technical assistance from the World Bank in collaboration with relevant key stakeholders including Bank of Ghana, National Insurance Commission, and the Pensions Regulatory Authority.
The National Financial Inclusion and Development Strategy (NFIDS) framework aims at increasing access to formal financial services at affordable cost for the adult population. It is envisaged that it would increase financial inclusion from 58 per cent to 75 per cent by 2023.