Technology in financial transactions now a necessity – Addison

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Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Ernest Addison has said that rapid changes in payments technology has made the use of technology in financial services has become a necessity rather than a choice, driven by consumer demand for convenience, efficiency, and lower cost of transactions.

Currently, he said, digital payments have been on an uptrend and various Governments’ have joined in the digitisation process and most central banks are at various exploratory stages of developing Central Bank Digital Currencies, with the recognition of money as an important public good and whose stability needs to be protected.

“As you may be aware, the Bank of Ghana has already entered the space and piloting the CBDC, with broad stakeholder consultations on the project. This will eventually lead to the issuance of a digital currency, the E-Cedi, a safe and stable means of payments and settlements which would further advance financial inclusiveness, promote efficiency in the payment systems, and foster competition in the financial sector,” Dr Addison said at the Ghana Economic Forum 2021 held on the theme: “strengthening home grown policies to underpin the national digitisation drive and shared financial prosperity.”

He added “Strengthening Domestic Policies for National DigitisationThe achievements in the payment ecosystem would not have been possible without the solid payment infrastructure base and sound regulatory frameworks that have supported the process. Let me briefly highlight a few of the domestic policies that have been spurred Ghana’s advancements in the payment and settlement systems. The Bank of Ghana laid the foundation for the payment system to thrive by providing the required payment systems infrastructure.

“Let me briefly highlight a few of the domestic policies that are spurring Ghana’s advancements in the payment and settlement systems. We can recall the set-up of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (GHIPSS), Real Time
Gross Settlement System (RTGS), Cheque Codeline, Clearing System (CCC), the National Biometric Smartcard (E-zwich) and the National Switching and Processing System (gh-Link) to create a solid framework for market infrastructure to support efficient payment system and financial inclusion.

“To further address the need for faster payments, the Bank introduced GHIPSS Instant Pay (GIP), a real time utility solution to support instant funds availability for customers, as well as the Mobile Money Interoperability platform to facilitate transfer of funds across mobile money networks and bank accounts. Again in 2020, the Bank launched the Universal QR Code to scale up affordable and interoperable merchant payments.

“There is also the hybrid Gh-Link Card, which is an EMV compliant card that facilitates both biometric E-zwich transactions and PIN-based transactions at Point of Sale (PoS). The expected impact of these innovations in the diffusion of digital payments into everyday activities has the potential to further deepen financial inclusion.

“Currently, the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems provides a fully interoperable payments platform that allows for seamless transactions across mobile phone networks, mobile money wallets and bank accounts. In addition, the platform supports payment solutions from retail to merchants, for example through the national QR Code.

“The Ghana Government also took a bold decision to pursue a national digitalisation agenda with the launch of the National Digital Property Addressing System and National Identification Project to create a database of secure personal identification system for citizens and proper national addressing and location systems.

“This policy measure helped to address a major obstacle to financial inclusion as the poor address systems made location of clients a major hurdle for financial institutions.”

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana