Rapid expansion of digitization and technological advancements are enabling effective service delivery and payment systems across the globe. The surge in digitization has improved operational efficiency and service delivery in all the key sectors of public and commercial importance, from manufacturing and industry, to business and commercial operations, agriculture, health, education, and finance. Global experiences have shown that digitizing payments has vast benefits as they provide transparency and accountability to transactions and also provide some level of security compared to cash transactions. Over the past decade, the Government of Ghana has embarked on a rigorous drive to digitize the economy and promote a swift transition to a cashless/cash-lite economy.
Although the growth and uptake of digitized payments in Ghana have been low by global standards, the country continues to make significant progress in digitizing payments across all sectors of the economy. To further enhance the uptake and usage of digitized payment systems in the country, the Government of Ghana, through the Bank of Ghana, has implemented several policies. The policy currently under implementation is the Bank of Ghana’s National Payment System Strategy Plan (2019-2024). The strategic objectives of the plan are to foster efficient payments, improve financial inclusion and enhance financial innovations. In line with the objectives, the key strategic responsibilities of the plan are to develop and implement clear and comprehensive regulatory and governance framework, promote free, competitive and orderly development of the payment system space that encourages innovation and promote safe and efficient payment system that fosters confidence and encourages usage, amongst others.
All these policies and plans have been put in place against the backdrop that Ghana still remains a predominantly cash-based economy. In the non-cash space, the Ghana Cards and Payments Market Report (2020), notes that the cheque is the most popular mode of non-cash payment with debit cards being the preferred card payment method. As the usage of card increases across all sectors of the Ghanaian economy, it is important to note some very critical things to consider when using a card, particularly on third-party payment apps or e-commerce platforms.
The first thing to consider are the Security Protocols. It is essential that you make sure the app has robust security protocols to protect your personal and financial information. Look for features such as two-factor authentication, encryption, and SSL/TLS encryption.
The second is to take note of the Transaction Fees. Before you complete a transaction, you need to check if there are any transaction fees associated with using your card on the app. Some apps may charge fees for transactions, while others may offer free transactions. You also have to read any information the app has on Refund Policies. Look up the app’s refund policy to see if you can get your money back if you have any issues with a transaction or if you need to cancel a purchase.
One thing many of us do not do when using third-party apps is to check the Reviews and Ratings of the app. You should look up the app’s reviews and ratings to see what other users are saying about their experiences with the app. This can give you an idea of the app's reliability and reputation. Compatibility is another thing you have to consider before using your cards on third-party apps. Make sure the app is compatible with your device and operating system before using it. Lastly, read carefully the Terms and Conditions of the third-party app. This will help you understand the rules and guidelines for using the app, including any restrictions or limitations on using your card.