Apart from cash and credit cards, there are many other available payment systems in Ghana. Interestingly, the shift to e-commerce in Ghana has grown tremendously in recent years, directly affecting payment methods and more and more people adopting cashless payments and online shopping.
In this article we’ll take a look at some of the most adopted and popular payment systems in Ghana, whether it’s for paying regular goods or doing business transactions.
The health-related restrictions associated with lockdown, prompted an increase in cashless payments and transfers. During the period of initial lockdown from late March to April 2020, according to the e-commerce Association of Ghana (e-CAG), 79% of retails businesses were conducted online.
According to e-CAG, conservative estimates anticipate that the value of the e-commerce market will expand from $481m in 2021 to $674m in 2025, with more than 11m users.
Digital transactions have also experienced a very big rise by approximately 120% between February 2020 and February 2021. This also meant that many small and medium-sized enterprises turned to mobile money instead of physical cash. To date, mobile money is the most popular and growing channel for electronic payment in the country.
Transactions via mobile wallets and phones represent approximately 82% of the country’s GDP, and the value of mobile money transactions stood at $99bn in 2020 – far surpassing cheque and cash transactions, valued at $29bn.
With these interesting pieces of data in mind, let’s have a look at the payment methods in Ghana.
Payment systems in Ghana
According to Emergent Payments Africa, in Ghana 47.9% of residents have access to only a basic phone. Whether this is a contributor or not, but cash is still one of the most widely used and accepted methods of payment.
It is very useful to know that local merchants (taxi drivers, street stall food sellers, etc) do not tend to have change for larger bill notes, so it is always recommended to have smaller Cedi notes at hand – 1 ghs, 5 ghs, 10 ghs, 20 ghs. It’s good to know that fake currency has been a problem experienced in Ghana as well as many other countries, so take precautions.
With the recent increase in the use of electronic point of sale (POS) systems in Ghana, as well as the growing number of ATMs, visa cards are widely accepted now, especially in supermarkets, hotels in Accra, upscale shops, and others.
Please keep in mind that we are speaking in the case of Accra. Outside of Accra, especially smaller towns, the use of cards it’s not as common and it is always recommended to have cash on you.
When it comes to ATM withdrawal, we recommend you check with your bank as to what percentage will be charged when withdrawing a foreign currency, especially if it’s outside the EU.
There are a few online banks nowadays that are directed at travelers and card payments made outside of your hometown which charge much lower fees. A few we recommend: N26, Revolut, Bnext. If you do a specific search to which one is recommended within your country, we are sure you can find what is most suited to your case.
Mobile money is an electronic wallet service in which Africa has led the way in the development and use of it. According to a research conducted by a Research Team at Stanbic Bank Ghana, mobile money transactions has emerged as the most preferred digital and fastest growing payment method in Ghana, increasing by 15% in 2020 with an estimated value of transactions at GHS589 billion.
In order to subscribe for this method of payment, you will need a mobile phone (easy), a Ghanaian phone number (relatively easy as well) and a residence (maybe a little more complicated for some). Someone who is on a tourist visa in Ghana, could not have access to mobile money.
If you fulfill these three characteristics, you can subscribe to mobile money, or as they call it here, “Momo”. To register you can visit any customer service center from any of the phone networks (MTN, Vodafone, AirtelTigo, etc), retail agents or mobile money merchants.
The easiest and fastest way to load your Momo is through a mobile merchant. You can find them on the streets around the whole of Accra, usually with a notice board that says “mobile money” or “MTN”. Loading money onto your wallet comes with a small commission.
Your momo wallet can also be linked to your Ghanaian bank account, allowing you to transfer money from your bank account to your momo wallet and vice versa.
This method of payment is very popular because it’s fast, it’s safe and convenient, however, since the introduction of the E-Levy that took effect on the 1st of February 2022, many locals have been complaining. The E-Levy is an “Electronic Transaction Levy” of 1.75% on electronic transactions above GHS 100 per day.
This announcement has led to different reactions from the industry’s stakeholders, with some of them supporting the tax introduction as a way to collect public revenues while others criticizing such measures and its negative impact on digital payments and on the digitization journey that Ghana is championing.
For any business transactions in particular, a cheque can be issued instead of cash. Here the name of the receiver is not specified, but CASH is written instead. It is a bit of a risky payment method because it means that anyone who has possession of this cheque can cash it just by showing some form of ID.
It is true, however, that if the cheque is for a significant amount, the phone number and signature are required to be written at the back of the cheque by the person who issued the cheque. The bank would then call the account holder to verify the payment before they process it.
GhQR is a new and easy way to make payments to a merchant by scanning a QR Code displayed by the merchant with your mobile phone. The merchant gets the money instantly, just like paying with cash.
There are two ways by which you can make payments with GhQR at merchant locations. Scan to Pay or Dial to Pay.
- Using Smart Phone (Scan to Pay): Log into your Mobile App and follow the prompt (instructions) to pay
- Using a feature phone ( Dial to Pay): Dial the USSD code (e.g. *123#) of your payment Service Provider and follow the prompt to pay
The good thing about the method is that there is no fee.
Online Payment Platforms
We won’t go very deep into this, but here is a brief introduction into some online platform payments in Ghana:
GTPay is an integrated and secure online gateway that enables corporate clients such as hotels, airlines, churches, educational institutions, supermarkets to accept payments on their websites. It is an internet-based solution that enables online payments using local as well as international cards such as Visa and Mastercard.
ExpressPay is an instant top up method that allows you to receive airtime popup to your phone within seconds using all major networks in Ghana – MTN, Tigo, Airtel and Vodafone. Bill payments are also made every easy with ExpressPay. You can pay for your Surfline internet, DStv, BoxOffice, and GOtv services from anywhere and at any time.
With Interpay you can make and receive payments of bills, invoices and fees. It connects merchants in Ghana to local and international payment capabilities. Ghanaian expats living in the UK or in Canada, can make direct cash payments to Interpay users, making it a cheaper, safer and much faster method to pay for bills.
iPay is a bill pay service that allows you to make payments to businesses and individuals using your Internet banking account. Payment methods supported are mobile money, Visa and Mastercard.
Myghpay is the safest and most robust online payment and collections platform designed to enable individuals, businesses and institutions to make or receive payments online, from the comfort of their homes, offices and on-the-go.
To use it, you have to log into myghpay.com, select which merchant you’d like to pay for, and make your payment via Visa/ MasterCard, Gh-link enabled card or your mobile money wallet. You can use it to pay for utilities, insurance, school fees, travel and tours, shipping, airtime credit, etc.
Apart from offering the most incredible and high quality luxury apartments of the real estate market in Accra, at Green Views Residential we bring you the latest news as well as relevant and current information about Ghana to ease you in the case you’re relocating or starting a business in Ghana.