The Chief Executive of the Ghana Inter-bank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), Archie Hesse has encouraged the public to ask for instant pay services from their banks and also patronize mobile money services.
He said these two payment systems hold the key to financial inclusion in the country.
He explained that because the two payment systems are closer to cash and are even safer, they can easily become the catalyst to reduce the huge unbanked population, by including more people in the financial sector.
The Government has made financial inclusion a major goal for the year and has tasked stakeholders including financial institutions, GhIPSS and telcos to work together to ensure that more people get into the banking system.
Ghana has a high unbanked population of more than 60 percent, which is one of the reasons being cited for high interest rates, since most of the money that banks could access and on-lend are rather in people’s homes, shops and offices.
Speaking in an interview in Accra, Mr. Hesse explained that the reason why Ghana still has a large unbanked population is because many people prefer cash in hand which can be used and received instantly as payment.
He said any payment system which has those qualities of cash but more secured, would therefore be the best tools to use to draw more people into the banking sector.
Mr. Hesse mentioned the Instant Pay, which allows people to transfer cash from one account to another of a different bank instantly as one of the best options available today to increase the banked population. He explained that the Instant Pay system can also be engineered for various forms of payments including online and mobile payments.
“Instant Pay is like cash because the moment you send the money, the receiver gets it and can use it immediately”, he stressed. Instant pay can be done on a mobile phone or a computer.
Mr. Hesse also mentioned mobile money as the other payment system which is near cash, as the other option that can drive financial inclusion.
He explained that while it was very easy to access mobile money, every bit of money kept on a mobile money wallet rests with the banks.
This implies that the more people use mobile money, the more money is kept with the banks leading to a deepened financial inclusion.
GhIPSS is currently in talks with telcos to bring about interoperability among the mobile money providers, so that customers can send money across networks.
Mr. Hesse explained that once the interoperability is completed, a lot more mobile money transactions would be expected to occur.
The GhIPSS Boss emphasised that electronic payment was the way to go and urged the public to patronise them to enjoy the security and convenience that come with them as well as increase money available to banks.
“Too many of us are holding on to cash and losing them to floods, fires, armed robbers and thieves in general or we even lose our purse and wallets” he stated. He therefore advised the public to embrace instant pay, mobile money and other electronic forms of payments which are more efficient, secured and beneficial to the economy.