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GhIPSS interoperability solution to deepen competition

Author: Samuel Doe Ablordeppey
Mr Kwadwo Ntim (2nd right) explaining a point to the media. He is supported by Mr Archie Hesse (left)
Mr Kwadwo Ntim (2nd right) explaining a point to the media. He is supported by Mr Archie Hesse (left)

The Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (GhIPSS) says its platform, which ensures that mobile money users from all mobile phone networks can send funds across networks, will engender competition and reduce prices in that space.

According to GhIPPS, prior to its intervention, electronic money on mobile phones were sent across networks only through tokens, which attracted between 2.5 per cent and three per cent of the transaction value.

There were other players and third parties within that space who used longer processes in ensuring that mobile wallet holders could transfer funds from one network to a wallet on a different network.

However, with the GhIPSS Mobile Money Interoperability (MMI) which was launched by the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the maximum charge for transfers across networks had been fixed at 1.5 per cent.

The General Manager of GhIPSS in charge of Technology & Operations, Mr Kwadwo Ntim, explained to a section of the media in Accra on Thursday that as the volume of transactions increased across networks, the fees would further come down to ensure that the objectives of the system, geared towards financial inclusion, was achieved.

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The MMI system deployed by GhIPSS is expected to create a number of possibilities, including wallet to wallet transfers across different networks; wallet to bank accounts, bank accounts to mobile money wallets, wallets to e-zwich wallets and vice versa.

Mr Ntim said the transfer of accounts from wallet to another network and wallet to bank account were now possible.

Three other solutions, including account to wallet, would be completed in about two months, working with the banks.

That would enable bank account holders to transfer from their accounts at any bank to their mobile money wallets, he explained.

The general manager in charge of technology and operations said the rationale was to empower mobile phone device owners to initiate transactions on their phones.

Initial focus

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GhIPSS, Mr Archie Hesse, said the initial focus was to deploy the infrastructure to make mobile money transactions interoperable among networks and between bank accounts.

“The infrastructure is in place so we now have to work on the processes, the governance and close other gaps to ensure that the system gets widely used. We believe this will help drive down the fees for transfers across networks,” Mr Hesse said.

Although GhIPSS, the Telecommunications Chamber and other stakeholders fixed 1.5 per cent as interoperability transfer fee, he said the parties agreed to review the charges after the system had gone live.

He explained that ensuring a cashless society was very critical given that it was costly for the country to print currencies, while a lot of transactions also occurred outside the banking system.

All mobile money wallets sit on bank accounts.

Steady growth

Since its launch on May 10, 2018, the inter-mobile network wallet transfers have been increasing steadily. The first day recorded about GH¢174,149 to GH¢359,161 the following day. The total transfers across networks in a week reached GH¢1.8 million, involving 22,919 transactions.