The move towards a cashless economy has impacted the way we do business in Ghana presently. Financial institutions as well as mobile telecommunications companies continue to champion this drive leading to many electronic payment products and services.
Clearly, we see more and more people these days opting for cashless modes of payment. For instance, transactions are done using debit cards, or via mobile phones (e.g. FBNBank Ghana Vodafone cash service) and internet banking platforms. As we progress towards a potential transition – from a cash economy to a cashless one, these digital payment-modes and many others to come will pitch themselves as very reliable and convenient solutions for doing business.
While the cash and carry system which is quite vibrant in Ghana, is associated with perceived economic and financial risks, high dependency on cash by Ghanaians has contributed to the delay in getting a cashless economy though most developed countries have already embraced the concept.
Going cashless is a prudent path to thread considering the fact that it safeguards individuals and businesses against the risks associated with a cash-dependent system. Managing Director of FBNBank Ghana, Mr. Gbenga Odeyemi, believes a cashless economy can be achieved in the medium to long term but advocated for a less radical approach he refers to as the ‘cashlite’ economy.
He says the ‘cashlite’ economy is the “gradual removal of cash from our economy by the introduction of products that do not raise suspicion and distrust with the citizenry. Thus, the introduction of debit cards such as the MasterCard, ATM cards and the like.”
Mr. Odeyemi highlighted three important advantages in the use of debit cards. He stated that if Ghanaians accept the concept of a cashlite economy, the Central Bank will spend less producing bills. He also believes that the use of debit cards can help fight corruption because every transaction leaves a trail that can be used to detect questionable movement of funds thus increasing accountability. In addition, a cashlite economy reduces overhead cost of banks and companies and commerce is automatically enhanced when barriers such as time and distance is eliminated.
The MasterCard is accepted and used as a credible card by businesses and individuals across the world. He stated that as part of FBNBank’s medium term plan, it is the bank’s aim to achieve a cashlite economy in the next five years thus the bank has introduced the FBNBank Ghana MasterCard to bridge that gap.
The FBNBank Ghana MasterCard is accepted on more than 200 million MasterCard pay points worldwide and is issued to clients instantly. According to Mr. Gbenga Odeyemi, “when you walk to any branch of FBNBank Ghana and request for the FBNBank MasterCard, you expect to walk out of that branch holding your MasterCard.” The FBNBank Ghana MasterCard also comes with a unique secure code – a onetime password given in the form of a PIN. This password issued is used for online transaction. The code can be used twice and changed each time the FBNBank MasterCard is to be used. Based on a dynamic data authentication system, criminals find it almost impossible to clone the FBNBank MasterCard.”
“Moving towards a cashless economy is realistic but that would need frameworks that can only be put in place by the Central Bank to help regulate its operations and achievability,” Odeyemi observed. He proposed that the Central Bank of Ghana can work towards sanctioning specific cash transactions to reduce the volume of cash circulating in the system, while people can also conscientise themselves and others on the benefits of electronic transactions (e.g. FBNBank Vodafone cash service) to reduce over dependence on hard cash.
About FBNBank Ghana
FBNBank Ghana is a subsidiary of First Bank of Nigeria Limited. FirstBank operates an extensive distribution network with over 750 business locations (623 branches, 61 quick service points and 69 cash centers/agencies), over 2,500 ATM’s and over 9 million customer accounts. The Bank provides a comprehensive range of financial services and has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBNBank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank DR Congo, FBNBank Ghana, International Commercial Bank (ICB) The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal as well as its Representative Offices in Johannesburg, Beijing and Abu Dhabi.