The total value of transactions recorded on the e-zwich platform last year reached ?922.3million, a more than 238 percent increment on the 2014 transaction value of ?272.7 million, the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) has said.
The surge in use of e-zwich comes after moves by government to utilise the platform for effecting payments to beneficiaries of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) personnel under the National Service Scheme (NSS), as well as payments to caterers under the National School Feeding Programme.
Archie Hesse, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GhIPSS, speaking in an interaction with journalists last Friday said the increase in the usage of e-zwich will not only enhance the financial inclusion process but also push the country further toward the goal of being a 'cash-lite' society.
Mr. Hesse stated that the utilisation of e-zwich by various service providers of government, as well as other users, is testament to the platform's robustness - especially in areas with minimal or no Internet connectivity.
The e-zwich point of sale (PoS) devices supports both online and offline transactions. This dual capability, Mr. Hesse explained, ensures that e-zwich services can be accessed in all parts of the country; whether or not the area has good communication networks.
Giving a breakdown of the increase in usage of the platform, Mr. Hesse stated that at the beginning of last year there were 419,807 e-zwich cardholders - but the figure shot up to 613,403; a close to 50 percent increment.
To drive further usage of the platform, he added, GhIPSS will engage with government to ensure that beneficiaries of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), as well as the Controller and Accountant-General's Department (CAGD), are paid via the e-zwich platform. Notwithstanding the increase in e-zwich cardholders, Mr. Hesse said the value of peer-to- peer transactions still remain low. He said more users will have to pay for goods and services using their cards.
Last year, the value of such peer to peer transactions totaled ?2.3million, which was a five percent drop from the previous figure of ?2.5million. According to Mr. Hesse, GhIPSS has identified that low usage of e- zwich cards to pay for goods and services can partially be attributed to a lack of point of sale devices or the market.
GhIPSS, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the central bank, is in the process of acquiring more e-zwich-compliant PoS devices for commercial banks to buy for onward sale to the various merchants.
Also, discussions are currently ongoing between GhIPSS and some remittance companies which when completed will allow direct remittance onto e-zwich cards.
"When this is done you can directly receiving remittances onto your e-zwich card. This will do away with t usual bottlenecks associated with receiving remittances from abroad," he said.