Driving a stronger financial inclusion agenda through innovative payment systems

…the Interpay example

It is without doubt that the heavy reliance on cash by Ghanaians over the years has wasted resources and limited financial inclusion, leaving more than 80 percent of the population out of the country’s financial inclusion program.

In this response, government over the years, has sought to introduce policies to promote electronic payments, and to encourage new technology and innovation in the financial sector.

According to the Bank of Ghana, about 60 percent of the population has never used any kind of non-cash payment systems   which is relatively poor compared to other developing countries such as Kenya which are embracing electronic means of financial transactions at a faster pace. However, the latest Mobile Money statistics from the Bank of Ghana (2018) – the value of Mobile Money transactions rose from US$18 billion in 2016 to US$34 billion in 2017 – offer encouraging signs for a cash-lite Ghana

This is certainly positive news, as electronic non-cash payment systems provide benefits to a country’s poor and average citizens across a number of indicators, lowering the cost of transactions and increasing the return on savings.

The availability of convenient, reliable, secure and affordable electronic payment systems can introduce the unbanked to formal financial products like savings, pension, and insurance, creating synergies with broader financial inclusion goals.

One organization that is currently championing a vibrant electronic payment system as part of boosting Ghana’s financial inclusion is Interpay.

The company is a payment processor that connects merchants in Ghana to local and international payment capabilities including all mobile money platforms, Visa, Mastercard, and GHLink.

Interpay, which began operations in 2014, believes that electronic payment systems is the future of the world and to a country like Ghana, where more people are adopting non-cash payment systems in transacting business.

So far, Interpay, has processed over one million transactions worth over US$28 million with over 170 merchants across all industries in Ghana.

The company’s partnership with 20 local banks and all Mobile Money operators, including Visa and MasterCard have made this possible.

Modus operandi

Through its electronic payment platform, Interpay serves as an intermediary between its merchant (for instance an insurance company, an investment company, a school) and the merchant’s customers. Interpay charges no set up or maintenance fee, and only charges a transaction processing fee.

When a merchant is signed on to Interpay, the merchant’s services are integrated into the Interpay platform, using the merchant’s website or an app or through the setting up of a USSD to process Mobile Money payments.

Interpay’s payment platform makes transactions and e-commerce simpler, secure, and more convenient by making it possible for merchants and consumers to make and receive payments of bills, invoices, and fees electronically.

In providing merchants with platforms that help in payment collection and disbursement, the system also allows easy authentication and reconciliation of received and outstanding payments.

Benefit of the system to Interpay’s merchants

The system enables merchants to grow their customer database and improving sales by receiving payments through local and international channels, opportunities to operate in a paperless environment and reduce loss through instances such as theft, fire, and flooding

The system enables merchants to have real time access to transaction history while tracking and reconciling all payments received across all channels

Interpay’s benefits to customers

The system ensures individuals who does business with Interpay merchants to pay fees, bills, and invoices instantly and securely anytime and anywhere.

It also reduces the risk of using cash and exposing customer’s bank account when it comes to making payments, with a real time access to a transaction history to track all payments.

It ensures safe online payments by not exposing customer’s Mobile money account or debit/credit card details in the process.

By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe

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