How to use the Ghana QR Code Payment Service

Ghana has rolled out a universal QR code payment service, a digital payment method, branded GhQR,for business and consumers.

The new QR code payment service which is described as a universal QR code payment service enables consumers to make instant payments for goods and services, from different sources—bank accounts, mobile wallets and cards—easily and securely, by scanning a merchant’s QR code displayed at a point of sale or check out, and following prompts to input and confirm the price, and then tapping to finalise the payment.

GhQR is implemented by Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Limited (GhIPSS), a subsidiary of the Bank of Ghana entrusted with a mandate to implement and manage interoperable payment system infrastructures for banks and non bank financial institutions in Ghana.

Why QR code?

With the QR code payment service, a user’s (consumer or merchant) account information is reduced to a simple QR code so as to allow quick, convenient and secure access to payment platform, to perform a transaction.

What is QR code

The term QR code is an abbreviation of Quick Response code. A QR code consists of black squares arranged in a square grid on a white background. A QR code can be read by an imaging device such as the smartphone camera, processed and appropriately interpreted by an app. The data embedded is then extracted from patterns that are present in both horizontal and vertical components of the image.

Whereas a bar code contains information about the item to which it is attached, the QR code holds data for a locator, identifier, or tracker that points to a website or application. Data that can be stored in a QR code may include website URLs (addresses), phone numbers, or up to 4,000 characters of text. Unlike bar codes, QR codes contain more data and they allow for encryption that is useful for payment processing.

You can just type in a web address and visit a website where you again would type in account information of a business or merchant on your phone to pay. The point of a QR code is to simplify that process. A user’s account information is reduced to a QR code in order to allow quick and convenient access.

A QR code is used by marketers to simplify the access and login processes and therefore, entice more people into visiting a website or a piece of content. This is why marketers regularly place QR codes on banners, business cards, flyers, leaflets, posters and so forth.

How it works

A customer must signs up for the QR code payment service with a Payment Services Provider, like a bank for instance, to be able to access the service.

The Ghana universal QR code payment service does not necessarily require a consumer to be a holder of a bank account to use the QR code, as the service can work with any regular mobile money wallet.

The system comes with an alternative channel for feature phones (yam phones) where a consumer can pay by dialling the short code of a payment service provider and following prompts to make a payment.

The GhQR also allows a business to receive digital payments into a bank account instantly and securely.

The Vice President of Ghana, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia in a demonstration, paid for a serving of waakye, a local food made of cooked rice and beans served with stew and flaming-hot chilli pepper sauce known as shittor, at Auntie Muni Waakye in North Labone.

Scan to Pay

You must have a smartphone or tablet with built-in camera.Using a the smartphone (or tablet), you log into your mobile app, open the camera and point it towards the QR code. The app will immediately recognise the code and open a push notification requiring you tap it to finish the relevant operation or follow prompts (instructions) to pay. Once payment is successful, both the customer and the merchant will receive transaction notifications.

Dial to Pay

Using a feature phone, you dial the USSD code (e.g. *123#) of your payment Service Provider and follow the prompt to pay. With this approach also, both the customer and the merchant will receive transaction notifications, once payment is successful.

Free to Consumers

The GhQR service is free to consumers: a customer is not required to pay any fee for using GhQR, and users can pay at any merchant location with the GhQR sticker. Also, user can make payment to any GhQR merchant irrespective of where they received their GhQR sticker from. Users may contact their banks or mobile wallet service provider for details on spending limits.

For Merchants

How does a business entity sign up to GhQR? The business has to contact a bank or a Payment Service Provider to sign up. During registration a Merchant ID is generated and assigned for the business. Then a GhQR sticker and a stand are provided. A business owner has to visibly display the GhQR sticker and terminal ID at the business location for shoppers to use.

How much must a business pay for GhQR service? This is a negotiation between the business and its bank or mobile wallet provider.

What are the benefits of QR code payment for a business entity?

  • Instant credit to account/wallet
  • Setup is cheaper compared to other channels
  • Instant payment notification
  • Safe and Secure
  • Available 24/7 all year round
  • Allows businesses to receive payments from different customer funding source (Bank Account, Mobile Wallet & Card Schemes)

The GhQR service is one among a number of financial tech innovations that have been introduced as part of measures aimed at improving doing business and to make Ghana’s economy a cash-lite, more efficient one. As covid-19 continues to drive shifts in consumer behaviour, where people are becoming more open to online businesses, Labone Express expects a rapid adoption and use of the new Ghana universal QR code payment service.

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