Ghana’s Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia on Thursday launched the mobile money payments interoperability system in Accra.
Interoperability is the ability for customers to undertake money transfers between two accounts at different mobile money companies or to transfer money between mobile money accounts and bank accounts.
The launch of the system is expected to largely eliminate the difficulties associated with traditional banking services, such as the difficulty in opening bank accounts and the high costs associated with maintaining a bank account relative to customers’ income levels.
Bawumia challenged the financial institutions, telecom companies and the Fintechs to find innovative ways of turning mobile phones and the mobile money platform into vehicles of economic emancipation for the players in the huge informal sector.
He also challenged the stakeholders to extend the reach of mobile money interoperability beyond the shores of Ghana.
“From here, our next focus is to venture into the cross-border arena, so that there will be an effective and efficient payment system to support sub-regional and indeed intra-African trade,” said Bawumia.
Following Thursday’s launch, customers will be able to move money freely from mobile money to mobile money accounts across different networks while mobile customers can move money from their mobile money accounts to bank accounts without any hassle, freeing up funds locked up in the telecom sector.
According to Fintech experts, this will make Ghana one of the global leaders in the interoperability payments space.
Presently, Ghana is witnessing a shift to a new kind of retail banking system where a large segment of the population, previously unbanked, are being absorbed into the financial services sector, via mobile money.
The number of mobile money transactions alone has grown by about 177 percent between 2013 and March 2018, reaching total transactions of 312.93 million and valued at 52.35 billion cedis (some 11.89 billion U.S. dollars) in March 2018.
This compared with 48.24 million transactions valued at 5.91 billion (1.34 billion dollars) in March 2015.
Currently, there are 25.3 million mobile money accounts compared with 8.20 million in the same comparative periods.
“This clearly presents a huge opportunity to bring most of these economically active people into the formal economy, and presents a huge potential for domestic revenue mobilization in Ghana,” said Ernest Addison, Governor of the Bank of Ghana.