The Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Ernest Addison says the Universal QR Code and Proxy Pay Platforms has the potential to fast track Ghana’s digitization agenda and ensure financial inclusiveness.
He said “These solutions would also speed up digitization of payments to distributors, wholesalers, suppliers, as well as encourage users and merchants to accept and use electronic payments. This will provide a further boost to the financial inclusiveness through digitisation agenda”
The universal QR code and the Proxy Pay solutions, he adds, could potentially become game changers by supporting merchants to accept payments from customers of different financial institutions and non-bank entities.
”One of such cost-effective market solutions is the Universal QR code and Proxy Pay, which are interoperable and can leverage on the high mobile phone penetration in Ghana”, Dr Addison further explained.
Launch of Universal QR Code and Proxy Pay platforms
The Governor of the central bank was speaking at the launch of the Universal QR Code and Proxy Pay Platform in Accra on Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
According to him, the introduction of the QR Code is an integral part of the BoG’s Payment Systems Strategic Plan for 2019–2024, which is captured under the Financial Technologies Strategy Pillar.
A key major reason for introducing the new electronic payment systems, according to Dr Addison, is to help build public confidence in the financial and banking sector.
In line with this, he urged the financial and non-financial institutions to constantly tighten and enhance the security features of the electronic payment platforms in order for it to be able to withstand any cyber security threat.
“To conclude, let me state that the high penetration of electronic wallets and mobile phones has positioned Ghana to leverage on the universal QR code and Proxy Pay to advance our quest for a cash-lite economy as we improve financial inclusion’, he said to ended his speech.
The launch was held under the auspices of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS).
The code will among other things help businesses including those in the informal sector accept payments for the purchase of their goods and services through the scanning of uniquely generated universal codes.
This means that Ghanaians can now buy their favourite food, item or service through a simple click of a bottom on an app on their electronic devices.
Speaking to the media briefly after the launch, the Chief Executive Officer of GhIPSS, Archie Hesse, said the platform would offer relatively cheaper payment options to consumers
“You would have an app from your bank that is linked to your bank account or to your wallet. That then represents the card and you can use these two instruments to effect payments.
“So, it is basically a cheaper way of effecting payments. What we are doing is looking at cheaper ways to make payments easier and more convenient”, he said.
He added that “one other advantage of the QR Code is that, it rides on the GIP, that is the GhIPSS Instant Pay Reels. So, merchants receive their payment instantly as opposed to the card where merchants receive their payments the following day”.
Currently, almost all banks have their unique QR codes for electronic payments, a situation that limits customers to only use their bank’s QR Code at a point of sale.
The introduction of a universal QR Code for all banks will harmonize QR Code payment systems in Ghana, thereby allowing merchants to receive payments from various consumer funding sources on any platform.