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Airtel Ghana partners Verifone to bring NFC payments to Ghana

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AirtelGhana’s efforts towards a cashless economy or an economy that uses less cash and more technology in transactions has mostly been close to a pipe dream.

The use of debit cards in Ghana is expensive, as Visa and Mastercard have higher foreign exchange rates to the cedi than current market rates and there are additional bank service and point-of-sale charges.

It has therefore become expensive to operate a cashless account in Ghana, which itself has stunted the growth of e-commerce.

But a recent partnership between Airtel Ghana, one of the mobile telecoms companies in Ghana with US company Verifone to provide near field communication (NFC) payments in Ghana puts some sparkle in the effort.

According to Verifone, it will provide NFC-enabled devices to Airtel merchants, that will act as terminals. These terminals Verifone says would enable the 1.5 million registered users of Airtel Money to make payments with their phones.

Customers will be able to make payments through a ‘contactless tap at the NFC device with a mobile phone’ to make payment through their mobile wallet, the provider explains.

However, customers who do not have NFC-enabled devices will receive a sticker.

“The sticker would make their phones NFC-enabled,” Mr. Edmund Barwuah, Head of Corporate, for Airtel Money told ghanabusinessnews.com on the phone.

He wouldn’t however say how much Airtel was investing in the technology.

The NFC-enabled system reduces the number of steps customers have to go through to make mobile payments.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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