The Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has launched a contactless payment system to encourage the adoption of an alternative payment, and curb the spread of COVID. The platforms; universal QR Code and Proxy Pay were launched to help enhance digital platforms and promote a cashless society. With this launch, which took place on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, Ghana becomes the first country in Africa, and the third in the world (after Singapore and India) to launch a Universal QR Code. The digital platforms were pioneered 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.
In a statement by Dr. Bawumia during the launch, he buttressed on the need of a convenient and flexible payment system:
“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.”
The Universal QR code solution works like a barcode, which allows Ghanaians to scan displayed QR code at a supermarket to complete payments. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the platform will ensure Ghanaians go cashless completely and limit the use of physical cash to mitigate the spread of the virus.
How they work?
- The Universal code is an interoperable payment acceptance solution, which reduces the need of cash. Customers just need to scan a displayed QR code at store or supermarket with their phones.
- Merchants can receive digital payments without the use of Point of Sales devices. Once a merchant has a QR code, the customer can scan the code with their smart phones or dial the USSD number to make payment.
- For a Proxy Pay, every bank account would be given a phone number to be a proxy for the bank account number for individuals or a chosen alias for companies. So, Ghanaians can make payments to one’s bank account through the phone number, which very much similar to mobile money.