A total of GH¢571.8 billion (US$99.67 billion) worth of mobile money transactions took place in the year 2020 alone, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Mrs Elsie Addo Awadzi has revealed.
This reaffirms the status of MoMo as the biggest platform for payments in Ghana after cash and well ahead of cheques and all the other electronic payments platforms introduced in Ghana over the past few years, most of them by the BoG’s dedicated subsidiary, the Ghana Interbank Payments and Settlement Systems Limited.
Introduced into Ghana a decade ago by MTN Ghana following its spectacular market acceptance in East Africa, patronage of MoMo has grown in leaps and bounds but MTN, enjoying first mover benefits, has retained its dominant market share of over 90 percent despite the introduction of interconnectivity between its network and those of its two competitors – Airtel Cash and Vodafone Cash respectively.
The product’s attraction to customers has been further enhanced by the linking of their mobile wallets to their bank accounts, another innovation facilitated by GhIPSS in 2018.
So far MoMo service providers have managed to convince government not to implement its desire to tax Momo transactions separately from the income tax the dedicated service providers – subsidiaries of mobile telephony networks established as separate companies by law and regulated by the BoG rather than by the National Communications Authority which regulates their respective telecoms parent companies – already pay.
Over the years, Mrs Addo Awadzi noted, “electronic money has emerged and grown exponentially not only in Ghana but all-over West Africa and across the entire region, paving the way for a wide variety of digital financial services including digital savings, credit, investment, microinsurance, informal sector pension products, and inward international remittance, bill payments, merchant payments, health care, and government social interventions including COVID-19 relief cash transfers”.
Today, she added, “there are some 17.5 million active mobile money accounts in Ghana with GH¢ 571.8 billion (US$ 99.67 billion) in mobile money transactions in 2020 alone, representing 84 percent growth from the value recorded in 2019, made possible with the help of some 344,000 active mobile money agents as of December 2020”.
She noted that Ghana’s regulatory framework for digital financial services has evolved over the last two decades and has supported the orderly development of the robust ecosystem we see today.
This has persuaded the BoG to step up its regulation of the industry. Key here has been its regulation of MoMo which can only be delivered by dedicated subsidiaries of telecom companies; while the latter remain under the regulatory purview of the National Communications Authority, the dedicated subsidiaries involved in financial transactions by providing payments platforms are regulated by the central bank.
To this end the BoG last week issued a list of the electronic money issuers and non-bank digital payments platforms which it has licensed to operate.
However, this has created a furore of its own since MTN Ghana is conspicuously missing from this list despite being clearly the biggest and most publicly visible of this genre. It is still unclear if this was simply a mistake or if there are unresolved regulatory issues between the two, as unlikely as this may seem; afterall MTN MoMo activities have continued unabated and unchallenged since the release by the BoG of its list of licensed electronic money issuers and digital payment platforms.
The BoG’s list comprises five electronic money issuers and 21 payment service providers. However, MTN Ghana’s inevitable inclusion will increase the number by one.
The list follows the passage of the Payment Systems and Services Act, 2019 (Act 987) in accordance with the licensing application pack for payment service providers.
The Act amended and consolidated the laws relating to payment systems, payment services and to regulate institutions that carry on payment service and electronic money business and to provide for related matters.
Below is the full list of approved firms.
Dedicated electronic money issuers
Airtel Mobile Commerce (Ghana) Limited
Yup Ghana Limited
Vodafone Mobile Financial Services Limited
Zeepay Ghana Limited
Payment service providers
AppsNmobile Solutions Limited
Cellulant Ghana Limited
Emergent Payments Ghana Limited
ExpressPay Ghana Limited
Fast Pace Transfer Limited
Global Accelerex Ghana Ltd
Halges Financial Technologies Limited
IT Consortium Limited
MFS Ghana Limited
Nfortics Ghana Limited
PaySwitch Ghana Limited
Transsnet Payments Ghana Limited
Techfin Innovations Ltd
Titan Payment Systems