Ghana to launch universal QR code payment platform

Ghana is set to roll out a new payment method across the country this year using QR code technology.

Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia made the announcement at the Government’s digitisation agenda.

“This year, there’s going to be a remarkable introduction into Ghana of a universal QR Code for payments,” declared Bawumia.

“This will help us move further into the cashless direction because there will be no longer any need for merchants to have point of sales devices, with the QR Code platform. All they need is a mobile phone and even a “yam phone” will work.”

Bawumia continued by adding that “if all goes well” he expects the universal QR code platform to be established by the fourth quarter of 2019.

Bringing in an interoperable payment acceptance solution is expected to provide Ghanian consumers an easier option to process digital payments and transactions.

For merchants, the universal QR Code will enable them to receive digital payments without the use of point of sale devices. 

Ghana follows other countries, including Singapore, India and China, that have recently introduced a similar universal platform.

Furthermore other countries that are aiming towards creating a cashless society, such as Saudi Arabia, are also planning to introduce a nationwide QR code based system.

Why QR?

Speaking to PaymentExpert, Meenaz Sunderji, executive vice president, global partner growth and sales strategy at Zafin, explained that “simplification and frictionless interaction” between consumers, merchants and financial institutions is the key reason why markets are looking at QR technology.

He said: “A standardised solution that can be applied on widely utilised technology platform in these markets, specifically, mobile, really support the adoption.

“You have to remember certain markets have leapt beyond the western world, somewhat skipping the web era and moved directly to mobile era – hence using the mobile phone as a medium to execute frictionless and simplified payments becomes very valuable in these societies.”

Sunderji continued by referring to case studies such as India and its need to ensure availability for an alternative commerce payment method.

“Governments such as India are pushing for cashless society,” added Sunderji.

“QR codes became a necessity to facilitate this without relying on traditional bank cards to replace cash because not everyone can easily open a bank account in some of these markets.

“There was a need to create a more simpler way of encouraging and support the adoption to move away from cash based transactions, India realised this and implemented modern tech to tackle the issue.”