The Vice President of the Republic, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has launched Ghana’s Universal Quick Response (QR) Code and Proxy Pay system in Accra.
While QR CODE payment systems have been implemented in many countries (especially in Asia), very few countries have successfully implemented a Universal QR CODE. With this launch, which took place on Wednesday, 25th March, 2020, Ghana becomes the first country in Africa, and the third in the world (after Singapore and India) to launch a Universal QR Code.
Launched online due to the vagaries of the coronavirus pandemic, and under the auspices of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Limited (GhIPPS), a subsidiary of the Bank of Ghana, the QR Code and Proxy Pay systems are designed to make secure, convenient and low-cost financial service available to the vast majority of people, and to solve the pain points of traditional finance institutions.
“The Universal QR CODE will make it possible for all merchants, service providers and institutions to receive payments from bank accounts, ezwich accounts, mobile money wallets or internationally issued visa or MasterCards instantly” Vice President Bawumia stated at the launch.
He added that any merchant can have a universal QR CODE: e.g. chop bars, food vendors, barbers, carpenters or masons, musicians, shoe shine boys, khebab or ‘Kofi brokeman’ sellers, market traders, trotros, taxis, churches, mosques, schools, funeral committees, wedding organisers etc.
The launch of the Code, which takes away the need to handle cash for transactions, could not have come at a better time, Vice President Bawumia indicated, as the world battles with the deadly coronavirus pandemic Covid 19, which is partly spread through contact with an infected person.
“It is therefore important that we do everything we can to expedite the wholesale use of electronic payment channels. It is now clear that electronic payments also have health benefits” he emphasized.
Vice President Bawumia explained that the Universal QR CODE will bring about interoperability across all telcos and across all banks and between banks and telcos.
“With the Universal QR CODE, Ghana has been provided with the vehicle to make all payments in the economy digital. Any owner of a phone, whether it is a smart phone or a “yam” or feature phone can use the Universal QR CODE to make or receive payments.”
Shedding more light on the Proxy Pay system, Vice President Bawumia explained that every Bank Account will be given a phone number to be a proxy for the Bank account number for individuals or a chosen Alias for companies.
Vice President Bawumia lauded the introduction of the Universal QR Code and Proxy Pay as a key plank in making Ghana a cash-lite society, and urged every adult to get a bank account or a mobile money account immediately.
He Urged the nation to embrace the use of electronic payments, saying, “If we all do this, we can transition Ghana into a near cashless economy in a very short period of time.”