The value of transactions in the economy conducted through the use of normal cheques went up by 32.39 per cent from GH¢73 billion in 2013 to GH¢96.81 billion in 2014.
This indicates a deepening move from cash-based transactions to a cashless society. Total transactions through the clearing house grew by 26 per cent to 11.2 million transactions in 2014 from 8.9 million transactions in 2013.
This involved the issuance of 6.44 million to 6.84 million cheques as of the end of 2014. Out of the figure, express cheques, which many banks have adopted as a value-adding service for their clients, went up to 119,842 presentments, recording a significant 441 per cent increase in value from GH¢3.12 billion to GH¢16.88 billion in 2014.
This growing trend signals hope for a cashless society as the clearing house services - one of the services the Ghana Interbank Payments and Settlements System (GhIPSS) offers - remains the largest contributor with 85 per cent to transaction volumes.
GhIPSS has currently rolled out the e-zwich smart card for electronic payments; the Cheque Codeline Clearing with Cheque Truncation (CCC), a process of clearing cheques electronically, the Ghana Automated Clearing House, which allows the electronic debit and credit of funds into deposit accounts and the gh-link.
The products and services are aimed at providing options for electronic payments, thereby limiting the use of cash transactions.
The Chief Executive Officer of GhIPSS, Mr Archie Hesse, believes that the e-payments landscape in Ghana was experiencing a lot of growth and GhIPSS would continue to develop products that would satisfy the growing demand for e-payment services that allowed online payments in real time using local cards or through local bank accounts.
All the four services of GhIPSS recorded an overall growth of 29 per cent in transaction volumes in 2014, up to 13 million transactions, as against 10 million in 2013. The contributions of gh-link service, which essentially supports e-commerce and interbank automated teller machine switching, has grown from five per cent in 2013 to 10 per cent in 2014.
All banks in the country except one have configured their automated teller machines (ATMs) to make their cards interoperable, through a system that GhIPSS built. This means that irrespective of a bank´s card a customer holds, it could be used on any ATM without any charge, compared to the foreign cards which charged high fees for interbank ATM use.
Ach Direct Debit:
The Automated Clearing House has direct credit and debit clearing arrangements. According to GhIPSS, there are 83 registered companies on the ACH direct debit scheme with 39 registered in 2014 alone. Total value of presentment grew by 106 per cent in 2014 to GH¢ 31 million from GH¢15 million in 2013. Volumes also grew by 205 per cent in 2014 to 341,000 from 112,000 in 2013.
For the direct credit, total value of presentment grew by 66 per cent in 2014 to GH¢9.6 billion from GH¢ 5.8 billion in 2013. Volumes also grew by 70 per cent in 2014 to 3.7 million from 2.2 million in 2013.
Express Ach Direct Credit presentment
The trend here is similar to Express Cheque presentments where many banks are using the system to make bulk payments such as salaries on behalf of their clients, especially during the last week of the month. According to Mr Hesse, many bank clients patronised the service as it allowed them to make payments very close to their deadlines as their beneficiaries were guaranteed same day access to their funds.
A total GH¢1.1 billion express direct credits were made in 2014, up from the 2013 figure of GH¢346 million, a growth of 227 per cent. Volumes also grew by 92 per cent in 2014 to 117,000.
In 2015, major initiatives such as payment of national service personnel and government workers using e-zwich would result in a significant increase in e-zwich transactions, while the implementation of the Internet Payment Gateway (IPG) and the GhIPSS Instant Pay platforms (GIP) on gh-link and the vigorous marketing of ACH Direct Credit, Direct Debit and Express clearing services, would also increase the performance of gh-link and the Clearing System respectively.