Makola… Kantamanto… Nima… We visit busy marketplaces like these and very often worry about being robbed, getting change for our high denomination currency notes, and accounting for every cedi spent. What we really would want is to visit these same markets with no cash but our mobile phone, yet return with bags full of foodstuff, clothes and more. Sounds too easy? Well, that’s what a country with a cashless society looks like.
Most countries have set the year 2030 as a target to reach a totally cashless society as more citizens resort to the use of mobile payments to complete business transactions. In Ghana, despite the boom in mobile money transactions and ample data that predicts phenomenal drive towards a cashless society, no certain date has been set to get the country to run a fully cashless society. That notwithstanding, the country can be seen as one in Sub-Saharan Africa that is making significant strides in terms of mobile money adoption and usage.
Mobile telecom companies in Ghana are leading the way into the cashless future, and this is evident in the stiff competition among themselves for mobile money subscriber share. For some years now, telecom companies have been spending millions of cedis to educate Ghanaians on mobile money usage through intensive media campaigns and promotions. This has had a direct impact on the drive to get Ghana cashless by 2030 because these activities acquire new mobile money customers each day.
Industry watchers are fascinated by how fast countries like Denmark, India, Norway, and Sweden have moved to cashless transactions. In Sweden, retailers are legally entitled to refuse coins and notes, and street vendors – and even churches – increasingly prefer card or phone payments. Here in Ghana, a number of churches have begun receiving offerings and tithes via mobile money platforms. Instead of the usual practice of congregants dancing their way to the altar, it is rather becoming common practice for the church to display phone numbers on their screens at the end of each service and ask members to pay their tithes and offerings via mobile platforms.
Some retail shops have also begun receiving payments via Mobile Money and POS and this has led to increased profit margins as they are able to transact business in a more secure, faster, user-friendly and convenient way. The public sector has not been left behind as government programs such as the School Feeding Program and National Service Scheme also make use of mobile money to pay vendors and service personnel. Despite these gradual developments that is propelling Ghana to be a cashless society, a definite target date cannot be set to when it will become the norm. And even as technology-backed payment services have gained momentum in the urban centers of the country, penetration in the hinterlands is yet to reach satisfactory levels.
History has always demonstrated that technology disrupts the status quo and this is very evident in the introduction of cashless payments, particularly via mobile. Before your business misses out on this new wave that is soon becoming the norm, you can jump on board Hubtel’s integrated payment solution called Hubtel POS that enables businesses of all sizes to receive payments from customers via cards and mobile money on all networks. It’s safer, much more convenient, and very secure.
Of course, achieving a cashless society is not an end in itself. It is a means to help advance financial inclusion, security, and prosperity. Hubtel aspires to be a key force in bringing everyone into the financial sector, drastically improving the lives of the millions who are now under- and unbanked while supporting economic prosperity and security. Before too long, buying “plantain chips” in traffic could be a seamless cashless transaction that fully satisfies both the vendor and consumer.