Government To Launch “Universal QR Code” Payment System In December

The Ghana government will launch a “Universal QR code” next month as part of their plan to make Ghana in a cashless society.

Vice President Dr. Mahammudu Bawumia stated at the 3rd Chamber Business Awards that the successful implementation of the system will make it the first of its kind in Africa.

We will introduce what we call the Universal QR code. It leverages the technologies that we have built.  Once we launch the Universal QR code, all businesses and traders will essentially no longer need point of sale devices.  Mobile phones will be sufficient to receive payment wherever, and will go directly into your account that you have received payment. This is going to start next month. Singapore, China, and the UK have all launched the QR code so Ghana is going to be the first in Africa. We are going to launch it next month so we move on to be a cashless society to make e-commerce enhancing.

What Is A “Universal QR Code”?

QR code payment is a contactless payment method where payment is performed by scanning a QR code from a mobile app. QR Code Payments have been in use since 2012. They are used in almost every form of payment including buses, trains and in stores to purchase items.

The closest reference for a “Universe QR Code” is what Singapore launched last year. Dubbed “SGQR“, it allows Singapore merchants to no longer have to display multiple QR codes to accept different cashless payment schemes.

Currently, there are different QR Payment options in Ghana. Last year, Visa launched their QR Payment option and MasterCard worked with EcoBank to push their MasterPass QR Payment.

In Ghana, cash payments is still king with Mobile Money use steadily on the rise.

So will a “Universal QR Code” system be as widely adopted as the Ghana Government hopes?

Little On Details

There’s currently not much detail about thie new Universal QR Code that the government will be rolling out next month. Details about which payment types are compatible with the QR codes are still not known. Can you use a Card option with QR payments? Can it directly be linked to your bank account?

How will it work with feature phones? Does there need to be pre-registration to use the QR Code?

Although it’s great that the government wants to push for a cashless society, it’s tough to see how this might help move the process. Countries like Singapore and China have cashless societies because infrastructure and policies are very strong and use of smartphones is very high in those societies. Trying to emulate what they do might be the wrong approach.

The skeptic in us feels like this might be a rushed project. But since we don’t know all the details, it’s hard to break it down. For now, we’ll wait to see how the project works before passing final judgment.