Mobile Money Agents Difficulty in Electronic Funds Transfer needs attention

Mobile Money Interoperability
Mobile Money Interoperability

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, on Wednesday tasked the Ghana Inter-Bank Payment and Settlement System (GhIPSS) and other telecommunication companies to develop a system to enable mobile money agents to load funds onto customers’ wallet from other networks.

Currently, an agent needs to keep different float accounts for each operator or network to serve customers.

Therefore, when the float of the agent for a particular operator runs out the agent is unable to serve customers from that operator though the agent may have electronic funds sitting idle on another network.

In view of that, agents turned away customers not because they did not want to serve them, but because they simply cannot use the float they have for one network operator for another.

The Vice President, however, proposed Phase-Three of the Interoperability System that would allow a mobile money agent or merchant with one phone SIM card to load electronic funds onto the wallet of the customer regardless of the customer’s network.

“So fix the challenge so that anybody who walked into an agent’s location could get service once there are electronic funds available,” he said.

Vice President Bawumia gave the directive when he launched the Phase-Two of the Mobile Money Interoperability Payment System in Accra.

He noted that the current status quo was not efficient since it often affected output and profitability as well as put a spoke in the wheels of the cash-lite agenda.

The launch, which took place at the GhIPSS Headquarters in Accra, attracted key stakeholders in the electronic payment system, including boards, managements and chief executive officers of the Ghana Inter-Bank Payment and Settlement System, Ghana Telecommunications Chamber and telecommunication and financial institutions.

“Ladies and gentlemen, with the level of interoperability we have achieved, there is no reason why we cannot begin as a country to accept payments for statutory fees and taxes through mobile money and e-switch.

“We only need to create administrative systems and processes that will recognise the use of these two as the formal ways of making payments,” Dr Bawumia stated.

He was optimistic that by the second quarter of 2019, all payments to government agencies would be done electronically, and gave the assurance that government was leaving nothing to chance, in ensuring the holistic transformation of the economy.

The interoperability payment system was designed and facilitated by the Ghana Inter-Bank Payment and Settlement System, telecommunication companies and financial institutions would ensure integrity of the transfer of funds.

Mr Archie Hesse, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Inter-Bank Payment and Settlement System (GhIPSS), said since the Phase-One was launched in May this year 1.4 million transactions had been recorded valued at GHc140 million as at last October.

He said the Financial Inclusion Triangle achieved by the country made Ghana one of the few countries in the world to accomplish universal interoperability in the sub-region.

The system, he said, would ensure secured and timely financial transactions through different robust electronic systems and urged Ghanaians to embrace it for efficient and effective financial service delivery.

Dr Ernest Kwamina Addison, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, said the universal interoperability platform idea was mooted in 2007 during Dr Paul Acquah’s administration as the Governor.

He said the strides the nation had made in ensuring financial inclusion won Ghana three out of eight awards at the Annual Global Forum of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion held in September, this year, in Russia.

He said the Bank had also hosted a number of Central Banks across the world that wanted to understudy the design and implementation of the nation’s interoperability platforms in order to replicate them in their home countries.

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