GHANA: Mobile phone cements position as most used payment medium

The mobile phone, with every recent report, continues to cement its position as the platform on which financial services or payments are delivered through – as evidenced in the latest Payment Systems Oversight Annual Report, 2018, released this week by the Bank of Ghana (BoG).

The report shows that with the astronomical growth in mobile money transactions and mobile banking services in both volume and value, while other payment platforms such as cheques, cards and Internet banking over laptops and desktops either saw declines in volume or value, or both, or at best grew marginally.

Cheque Codeline Clearing (CCC), one of the numerous means of payment, saw a negative change – with the report noting that the total volume of interbank cheques cleared in 2018 declined by 1.1 percent to GH¢7.26million in 2018. The value of transactions, however, went up by 13.3 percent to GH¢203.5billion.

The report explained that the decline, though marginal, in the volume of interbank cheques can partly be attributed to increased adoption of other digital payment options, such as mobile money and the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) Instant Pay.

Internet banking

To underscore the rise of mobile-based payments, Internet banking – usually undertaken over the Internet on desktops and laptops – which grew its number of registered users marginally between 2015 and 2016, saw a decline in registered users for the first time in 2017; with the trend continuing in 2018, showing a 12.92 percent drop from 936,965 users to 815,904 users.

Similarly, the value of Internet banking transactions decreased to GH¢6.27billion in 2018 from GH¢9.74billion in 2017. This is after it experienced a significant increase from GH¢2.29billion in 2015 to GH¢6.78billion for 2016, and then GH¢9.74billion in 2017.

But the volume of transactions jumped 31.51 percent from 2.44million in 2017 to 3.21million in 2018, with the average volume of transactions per day also increasing by 31.51 percent from 6,679 in 2017 to 8,783.

Mobile banking

Over the period, however, the number of registered mobile banking customers increased by 84.33 percent to 3.89 million in 2018 from 2.11 million in 2017.

When it comes to the volume of transactions, while Internet banking has been growing gradually over the years, mobile banking saw a 110 percent increment from 7.04 million in 2017 to 14.81 million. The average volume of transactions per day also saw a huge growth of 110.43 percent from 19,277 in 2017 to 40,564 in 2018.

On value of transactions, there was huge jump of 276.88 percent to GH¢5.66billion in 2018 from GH¢1.5billion. Meanwhile, the value of transactions in 2016 was only GH¢357.38million and 2015 recorded only GH¢178.59million.

Mobile Money Services

The total registered mobile money accounts were 32.55 million at end-December 2018, compared to 23.95 million at end-December 2017. Out of the total registered mobile money accounts, the number of active accounts increased by 17.4 percent to 13.0 million in 2018. Also, the number of registered mobile money agents increased to 396,599 in 2018, from 194,688 in 2017.

Total value of mobile money transactions increased to GH¢223.21billion in 2018 from GH¢155.84 billion in 2017, while the total float balance grew by 13.5 percent to GH¢2.63billion.

Fintechs crucial roles

The report noted that financial technology companies (fintechs) played a significant role in the payment ecosystem – in the areas of product development, delivery channels, data analytics, data management, technology support, and systems development.

It noted that collaborations between fintechs and financial institutions intensified during the year, and resulted in the introduction of digital savings, investment, credit, insurance, and pension products. “Completion of the interoperability project facilitated roll-out of innovative mobile merchant point of payment solutions, and placed further demands on Fintech services.”