Going Cashless in Ghana

January 5, 2021

Currently, digital and technological advances are affecting all aspects of life. This growth in digitization has led to improved operational efficiency in critical areas of public and commercial importance. A few countries are cashless states, although other nations are making moves to being cashless. Ghana has plans to eliminate paper from the majority of transactions and service, and has stated aims to become a digitized economy. The Ghanaian  government has introduced the National Interoperability platform and launched a universal QR code payment system as a bid towards a cashless society in Ghana.

Efforts in Ghana to become cashless

1.The use of technology

Banks are investing in technology, and integrating with the four major telecommunication (telco) companies leading to easier access to funds by their customers. These improvements are enhancing customer service in banks. Mobile money is the needed catalyst to having a cashless economy. According to the State of Cashless Payments in Ghana - DPO blog, Ghana's mobile money journey started in 2009, by 2012, the Bank of Ghana began to compile data and observed that mobile money transactions' value reached GH¢ 19.6 million.  Mobile money penetration has grown since then, with GH¢155.8 billion ($35 billion) mobile transactions in 2017.  Mobile device penetration in Ghana is over 100%, creating an optimal mobile financial service adoption infrastructure.

2. Partnerships with various stakeholders

Bank to bank partnerships and bank to mobile money partnerships are vital for continued support to being cashless. These bank partnerships are ATM, direct debit, and direct deposits. These partnerships have enabled the banks to provide services which Telco's don't offer, since they are not deposit taking institutions. The total volume of Ghana Inter-bank Settlement transactions recorded an annual growth of 30.8% to 1.22 million in 2018. According to ‘Is Ghana Becoming A Cashless Society?’ article, the country diagnostic study in 2017 concluded that Ghana had made significant progress in building the foundation of an inclusive digital payment ecosystem. It also shows that conventional electronic payment methods involving cards were still in their infancy, with only GH¢70 million in credit card transactions in 2016. The credit card revolution has yet to reach Ghana.

What are the benefits of a cashless economy?

1. Financial success and financial inclusion.

Inclusion matters since it's a road through which expanded success can be shared and become more equitable and sustainable.  According to the article, A Cashless Ghana is Beneficial For Us, all  65.4% of Ghanaians that lack access to financial services are left without assistance and the ability to save money or obtain insurance for their livelihoods. It is why financial success and financial inclusion are inexplicably linked.

2. Electronic can reduce theft associated with cash handling. 

Thieves are likely not to target stores making cashless payments. Small and Medium Enterprises to cater to as large an audience as possible and so would like to offer cash and electronic payment options. According to a study by MasterCard Advisors, 90 percent of small and medium-sized merchants have an e-commerce presence.  However, only 20 percent can receive live orders and accept payments. It is a big gap, especially when stacked against retailers' technology profile that transcends borders and platforms. 

3. Creation of employment. 

Mobile money has created jobs for many agents, service providers, and users. Many people have been employed by SME owners who are contracted by Mobile Financial Services (MFS.)  According to Impact-of-Mobile-Money-on-the-Payment-Systems-in-Ghana.pdf, in 2016 there were over 107,415 mobile money agents, with MTN mobile money contributing 54.0 percent, TIGO Cash 24.9 percent, Airtel Money 11.0 percent, and Vodafone Cash 10.1 percent.

What are the drawbacks of Eliminating Cash?


The major drawback to a cashless economy is financial illiteracy. For Ghana to enjoy a cashless economy and operate efficiently and efficiently, the rate of illiteracy needs to be brought down from the current elevated levels.

Data breaching

Data breaching has been a significant concern for the cashless system. Merchants need to increase security to combat these risks.

Can Ghana have a cashless economy?

Not all Ghanaians have a way to eliminate cash. The reasons range from tipping to concerns about the integrity of the banks,  to emergency financing. Money is substantial, quantifiable, and dependable. If the Internet is down, the electric grid goes out, or a framework gets hacked, money is there to cover the exchange. According to ‘Is Ghana Becoming A Cashless Society’, the World Bank report showed that 70% of Ghana's households are unbanked and still carry cash. Regardless of the amount we change to computerized and card-based installments, money would appear to have a spot in Ghana for the foreseeable future.


The government should engage banks and telecommunication companies to find a way of eliminating many charges. The government should join forces with other stakeholders in the economy and invest in cybersecurity. The government should also partner with banks to boost technological education. A reliable network should be implemented so as to achieve a cashless economy in Ghana.

Send more than money.