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Ghana Commercial Bank Implements a Mobile Money Strategy

Huawei provided GCB with an updated mobile money platform — G-Money — which has since helped the bank achieve a 10-fold increase in its mobile services and been the bedrock, in more general terms, of building a new banking ecosystem.

In Ghana, mobile payment services are growing rapidly. Approximately 73 percent of all transactions nationwide are now conducted using mobile money, from making payments at various physical and online retail stores, to buying phone credit and purchasing a wide range of goods and services. In recent years, mobile money transactions in Ghana have increased by more than 100 percent year-on-year. By September 2018, in a country of roughly 30 million people, there were reportedly already more than 31.4 million mobile money accounts and 8.2 million regular active users nationwide. Those numbers keep on growing.

Ghana’s Government Boots Mobile Money Growth

This growth has been actively supported by the government. Recognizing that Kenya’s robust mobile money industry helped the country achieve financial inclusion, Ghana’s government revised its own financial market regulations — under the guidance of the World Bank — hoping to achieve similar results. The new regulations allowed non-bank enterprises to provide financial services and successfully boosted both Ghana’s mobile money industry and the national level of financial inclusion.

Ghana’s mobile money service industry has rapidly developed since, with many mobile network operators moving into the finance space. Unsurprisingly, this has significantly impacted the nation’s traditional banking industry. And as this trend of mobile money growth continues, with banks competing with carriers, the former will have to be innovative in the delivery of financial services if they are to stay afloat.

Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) is Ghana’s largest commercial bank. GCB has served customers for more than 60 years and has over 1.5 million monthly active bank accounts and more than 180 physical branches. It believes that mobile money is inherently a banking service — not a carrier concern — and it has therefore offered a mobile money service since 2018.

GCB Seeks to Develop Mobile Money Platform

GCB sought to develop this mobile money service and a mobile money platform into one that could be used for easy cross-platform payments. The bank also wanted to offer customers a large portfolio of services by integrating other banks into a wider mobile payment ecosystem.

GCB firmly believed that mobile money would help grow its market share, offering services for more people at minimal cost, in turn improving the payment experience in Ghana and helping to improve people’s lifestyles by providing additional financial services such as small loans. With this in mind, GCB formulated a plan for implementing its mobile money platform.

The plan was to support a mobile money agent service, which already had 200 branches. GCB sought to deploy more agents and merchants, and aggregate existing networks of agents in support. Another target was the modernization of Point of Service (PoS) terminals and Automatic Teller Machines (ATM), so that both could support the mobile money service. Finally, GCB wanted to offer a diverse range of services, including credit loans, to make its mobile money services more appealing to customers.

Huawei Provides Mobile Money Solution

GCB was looking for partners who could help implement its mobile money strategy. Huawei stood out as an attractive option because of its extensive investment and practical experience in the financial field, having successfully deployed mobile money platforms in various countries, including fellow African nation Kenya.

With vast experience in the global mobile money field — having worked on bKash, a mobile financial service for Bangladesh Bank, and Kenya Commercial Bank’s (KCB) mobile money service, M-PESA — Huawei is widely regarded as extremely reliable in this domain.

Huawei is also able to draw on its experience in the Chinese market, which is the world leader in mobile payments, and apply it in Ghana. Huawei also has strong Research and Development (R&D) credentials and local teams, so it can support the sustained, long-term development of GCB’s services. Given all of these advantages, GCB believed that Huawei would be a suitable long-term partner.

Huawei provided GCB with an updated mobile money platform — G-Money — that launched in December 2019. G-Money has since helped the bank achieve a 10-fold increase in its mobile services and been the bedrock, in more general terms, of building a new banking ecosystem.

In terms of services, the solution is developed based on an open banking framework, enabling it to build a new service ecosystem and actively promote innovation of the business model. In terms of technologies, the solution is built using an open cloud architecture and micro-service architecture, and supports elastic scaling and continuous optimization of service processes, ultimately laying a solid foundation for the digital transformation of all bank services.

After the commercialization of the G-Money mobile money platform, GCB gained 60,000 new customers in a single month — 10 times the previous month’s figure. By April 2020, there were more than 700,000 mobile money users.

GCB’s future mobile money strategy is divided into three phases: mobile wallet, mobile payment, and mobile finance.

Mobile wallet: Through the mobile money platform, GCB will be able to compete with carrier networks for customers in Ghana, with the mobile wallet service providing basic financial services, such as deposits and withdrawals, transfers, and batch transactions.

G-Money also connects to all other banks through the Bank of Ghana’s Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS).

Mobile payment: GCB has greater plans to enable QR code-based payment, refined management, smart operations, and an open ecosystem. Open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for the mobile payment platform help provide pre-sales and after-sales services for local merchants, effectively building a local mobile payment ecosystem.

The mobile payment platform also supports the construction of a mobile payment ecosystem, accelerating the shift toward a cashless society and supporting digital and intelligent lifestyles. Another key aim of GCB’s mobile payment platform is to enable service providers from various industries to join the ecosystem and provide users and merchants with more payment scenarios.

Mobile finance: As the local financial market continues to develop and innovate, banks will look to capitalize on the unique advantages they have over mobile network operators to attract customers, offering overdrafts, small loans, and insurance services — all on a mobile platform.

【About GCB】

Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) is Ghana's largest commercial bank. GCB has served customers for more than 60 years and has over 1.5 million monthly active bank accounts and more than 180 physical branches. It believes that mobile money is inherently a banking service — not a carrier concern — and it has therefore offered a mobile money service since 2018.

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Issue 29 — Intelligent Finance Special

Thriving in a Mobile Future: Working Together Toward Smart Finance

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