Ecobank Ghana has introduced Masterpass QR to boost safe and secure digital payment via the mobile phone for booth the banked and the unbanked.
Ecobank's Masterpass QR was designed by global card and digital payment giant, MasterCard to integrate various payment platforms in a safe and secure way for consumers, merchants and service providers.
Ecobank is the first to launch the QR code in Ghana and the code is dubbed Ecobank QR.
Currently, it allows Ecobank account holders who have the Ecobank Mobile Banking App on their smartphones to make payments at various sales points by just scanning the Ecobank QR at a merchant's place. Those with feature phones can access the service via *770#.
In that sense, therefore, the service enables merchants like shops, restaurants, bars, food sellers, taxi/trotro drivers among others to accept payment from mobile phones, cards etc without having to use a point of sale (POS) device.
Ecobank Ghana Managing Director, Dan Sackey, said the systems saves merchants the cost of buying POS devices and the risk of handling loads of cash from sales, while the consumer has the luxury of access to money in their account even when they do not have cash.
"The payment is instant and the merchant can also have instant access to their money. This eliminates the cost of physical POS terminals and reliance on network or the internet connectivity," he said.
Dan Sackey said the Ecobank Masterpass QR also keeps records of transaction volumes and sales and therefore makes it easy for the bank to offer financial support to the merchant upon request.
West African Regional Manager for Consumer Distribution for Ecobank, Owuraku Asare told Adom News very soon mobile money wallet holders would also be able to use the Ecobank Masterpass QR to make payments from their mobile wallets.
"Other banks will soon launch it and it will help to boost financial inclusion in the country - help to boost the drive towards a cashless society and ultimately reduce the cost of printing and using cash," he said.
He noted that Masterpass QR is the safest digital payment platform yet because it requires the use of a personal identification number (PIN), which means no one can access another person's funds.
Owuraku Asare said Ecobank QR allows customers to make payments of up to GHC5,000 in one transaction and up to GHC20,000 in a day.
Meanwhile, earlier, Lead of MasterCard for the Middle East and Africa, Guarang Shah had told Adom News at the just-ended Mobile World Congress that Masterpass QR will eventually allow all payment platforms including even cards like Visa and others, other than MasterCard, to be used for payment via Masterpass.
When the other payment cards come on stream, it will make MasterCard the first and only network to have delivered an omni-channel for digital payments for consumers, issuers (banks and telcos) and merchants.
Guarang said the QR is designed to bridge the gap in digital payment and globalize it such that any and everyone, whether banked or unbanked can access any form of financial account they have to make payments anywhere in the world.
He said the integration if various payment platform was in recognition of the fact that not everyone has a bank account but everyone deserves the opportunity of convenience and safety when making payment.
"This innovation ensures financial inclusion because it brings mobile money wallet holders onboard one global payment platform - it also bridges the interoperability gap because the system is designed to allow payment via other cards outside of MasterCard going forward," he said.
Masterpass has already been launched in Pakistan, and in Ecobank in Nigeria and Ghana and in also in seven countries in just seven months.
"Ecobank has currently signed a contract to extend the service to all of its 33 markets in Africa and UBA (United Bank of Africa) has also expressed interest in extending it to thousands of merchants across Africa," he said.
Its main uses currently include uses at cinemas, online shopping for bills payments, airtime top-up, for fuel purchase, payment of taxi fare and restaurants among others.
Guarang believes Masterpass is a Pan-African innovation that will facilitate financial inclusion is a very big way because it does not matter what kind of account one holds, the services allows payment with that account.