The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has urged Ghanaians to adopt online payment systems, especially the newly launched Universal QR Code payment system which was launched in Accra today, in order to help curb the spread of the Coronavirus.
The innovative universal digital payment system, the first to be introduced by any African country, allows customers to make direct payments to merchants from any mobile money wallet and bank account through a mobile phone.
Speaking at the launch, which was done online due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the Vice President said the launch couldn’t have been held at a better time than this moment when the world and the nation is saddled with the Coronavirus outbreak, which both government and citizens are taking steps to curb its spread.
“The launch of the (universal QR) Code, which takes away the need to handle cash for transactions, could not have come at a better time,” said Dr. Bawumia.
“In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, economic activities must go on even with social distancing. People must buy and pay for goods and services like food and medicines to exist.”
“The science says that there is a risk of transmission from every item that our hands touch. In a cash dominant economy such as ours, the risk inherent in the transmission of the coronavirus through banknotes is something we should be concerned about.”
“This means that once the use of cash diminishes, the risk of the spread of the coronavirus through banknotes will also diminish.
“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,” the Vice President noted.
The Vice President also stated the introduction of the universal QR code payment system is a major step towards transforming Ghana into a cashless society, adding that embracing it comes with other immense benefits to businesses and Ghanaians.
He, therefore, urged businesses and service providers, no matter how small they are, as well as all adult Ghanaians to get a mobile money or a bank account to be able to benefit from the universal QR Code payment and the Proxy Pay system.
“This QR Code and Proxy Pay is a game-changer,” Dr. Bawumia said.
“For most merchants, this means little or no cash will be kept in the shops, taxis, buses, on the person, etc. so armed robbery and petty crime will decline. It is important that every merchant or service provider takes steps to get a universal QR code from their bank, telco or a fintech as soon as possible.”
“If we all do this, we can transition Ghana into a near cashless economy in a very short period of time.”
USING THE UNIVERSAL QR CODE
The QR Code, ( a two-dimensional code made up of black and white squares that can be read by smartphone cameras, point of sale (POS) terminals or other devices including ‘yam’ phones) is very simple and inexpensive for even retailers.
All that a shop or a retailer has to do is to get a sticker with a QR code (from a bank or telco) or download the merchant app and create a QR code to accept digital payment.
Interestingly, both smart and ‘yam’ phones can pay through QR codes.
For customers with smartphones, all that they need to do is to scan the QR code displayed by the merchant or shop owner with their phones and then enter the amount to be be paid for goods they have bought.
For customers with ‘yam’ phones, they can pay through the QR code payment system by dialling a code that will be displayed at the seller’s end for payment to be effected.
As Dr. Bawumia explained during the launch, the Bank of Ghana and the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (GhIPSS) are key players for the implementation of the universal QR Code payment system in Ghana.
Regardless of one’s bank or mobile money wallet, GhIPSS will make it possible for customers to be able to scan any displayed QR Code in Ghana and effect payment instantly through their mobile phones.
As soon as payment is made by a customer through the QR Code payment system, the customer’s bank balance or mobile money wallet will be debited instantly, while that of the merchant will be instantly credited.
With the huge success of government’s other digitization drive such as the paperless systems at the DVLA, Passport Office, the Ports, Registrar General, etc., experts believe the QR code payment system will bring significant relief to millions of Ghanaians as far as their daily business transactions are concerned.