Market Intelligence
Financial Services Information and Communication Technology Ghana

Ghana Digital Payment

Digital payment channels, led by Mobile Money, transform personal finance in Ghana.

Ghana’s institutional infrastructure arrangements and processes that enable individuals, businesses, organizations, and the Government to initiate and transfer monetary claims have evolved quickly in recent years. The major digital payment channels in the country are mobile money platforms and mobile apps, internet banking, digital wallets, e-checks,

Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), and electronic funds transfers. MasterCard and Visa offer debit/credit cards that deduct from bank accounts, as well. These digital payment channels are being used for Payment to Government (P2G, B2G), Government Payments (G2P, G2B), Business to Business (B2B), Merchant and Retail Payment (P2M), Public Utility Payments, and Person-to-Person (P2P) payments.

Ghana has a mobile phone penetration rate of more than 135%. Voice and data service is relatively affordable, which further enables the development of this sector.  Mobile technology is transforming the banking and payment industry by adding convenience to existing bank customers in Ghana and offering new services to unbanked customers who have mobile phones. The latter have been a relatively untapped market until recently.

Mobile money technology (known locally as “momo”) first emerged in Ghana in 2009, but has grown exponentially in recent years. It allows users to pay for goods and services via their mobile devices.  For the past several years, Ghana had the fastest-growing mobile money market in sub–Saharan Africa, which has greatly enhanced financial inclusion. Those with bank accounts can link their account to a mobile money account via an app.  For the unbanked, there is a network of small mobile money agents at mini kiosks spread throughout the country which allows users to add and receive cash from their mobile money accounts right at the kiosk. 

In 2020, the total value of mobile money transactions exceeded the value of check transactions.  Registered mobile money accounts reached 30 million, and mobile money transactions exceeded $36 billion.  For many of these accounts, the operators charge no or a small fee for payments on basic utilities or to shift funds to a bank account. There are low fees for using mobile money at designated merchants and somewhat higher fees to withdraw cash using an ATM or cash out the mobile money account.

Three out of four of the telecommunications companies in Ghana offer mobile payment services with South African-owned MTN having the largest market share. U.S. companies Emergent Payments Ghana Ltd. and TechHustle Ghana Ltd operate in the mobile money space, as well. 

Following the passage of the Electronic Transfer Act 2022 in April (Act 1075), the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) announced that it plans to implement a 1.5% e-levy on mobile money electronic transfers starting on May 1, 2022. Mobile money operators will remit the levy to the GRA on behalf of users. The Act is the subject of a pending legal case, at present. 

The E-Levy will cover: 

  • Mobile money transfers between accounts on the same electronic money issuer (EMI).
  • Mobile money transfers from an account on one EMI to a recipient on another EMI.
  • Transfers from bank accounts to mobile money accounts.
  • Transfer from mobile money accounts to bank accounts.
  • Bank transfers on a digital platform or application which originate from a bank account. belonging to an individual to another individual.

Exceptions for the levy include:

  • Cumulative transfers of up to 100 Ghanaian cedis per day made by the same person.
  • Transfers between accounts owned by the same person.
  • Transfers for the payment of taxes, fees and charges on the Ghana.gov platform.
  • Electronic clearing of checks.
  • Specified merchant payments (that is, payments to commercial establishments registered with the Ghana Revenue Authority for income tax and VAT purposes. 
  • Transfers between principal, master agent, and agent’s accounts.

For more information on the digital payments sector in Ghana, contact Victoria Agbai in the Commercial Section of U.S. Embassy Ghana at email: office.accra@trade.gov or Tel: +233(0)30-274-1870.   
 

04/25/2022