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The Ghana Banking Awards has adjudged Zenith Bank and GCB Bank as the Cashless Promotion Bank of the year and the e-zwich Bank of the year respectively. The two banks were recognized for their efforts at driving cashless and e-zwich services during the prestigious banking awards held on Saturday 15th July in Accra.
The awards, which is in its 16th year, was instituted by Corporate Initiative Ghana, constituted by corporate bodies in Ghana. It is intended to recognize performing banks in different categories and engender competition among them.

A few years ago, a category to reward banks that promote e-zwich was introduced and another to recognize banks driving the cashless agenda was added a year after.

The two award categories promoted by the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Ltd (GhIPSS) was in line with the general policy to promote non-cash forms of payment in Ghana.

Competition for both awards was keenly contested, with Standard Chartered Bank and Royal Bank being adjudged the first and second runners-up in the category of cashless bank promotion award while Agriculture Development Bank (adb) and Access Bank were the first and second runners up for the e-zwich Bank of the year category.

The Chief Executive Officer of GhIPSS Archie Hesse commended the winners of the various categories and urged financial institutions to continue to work with GhIPSS to drive non-cash forms of payments.

He explained that the banks are in a very advantageous position in the cashless agenda, as they have both merchants and individuals as customers. He said banks can work with their customers who are merchants to enable them to offer electronic payment channels, as well as use incentives to encourage consumers to patronise the electronic payments.

Mr. Hesse also urged government to come out with policies that will reward financial institutions, that are promoting non-cash forms of payments. He said some progress was being made and added that with a concerted effort by all stakeholders, Ghana could achieve the cashlite agenda.

Source: GNA

The  value of the various transactions managed by the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Ltd (GhIPSS) stood at GHC97 billion between January and June this year from GHC47.3 billion recorded in the first quarter.

This represent a growth in value of about 105 percent. The volume of transactions which was 6 million in the first quarter stood at to 12.2 million by June this year.

The value and volume of transactions show consistency in growth in patronage for the various electronic payment initiatives introduced by the national payment infrastructure provider.

GhIPSS provides four broad electronic payment services which are offered through banks and other financial institutions. They are the clearing house set of services (Cheques clearing and ACH), e-zwich services and the gh-link set of services. The total value of the half year transactions also represents a growth of over 19 percent over the same period last year.

The clearing house services which include the electronic cheque clearing and Automated Clearing House (ACH) Direct Credit and Direct Debit remain the largest contributor to the value and volume of transactions that pass through GhIPSS. It is followed by e-zwich transactions and gh-link transactions which includes GhIPSS Instant Pay (GIP).

GhIPSS, which was set up 10 years ago, recorded only GHC3.8 million Ghana worth of transactions in its first full year in 2008. However, the volume and value of transactions have grown consistently over the years with the addition of new initiatives and growth in the patronage of the services.

GhIPSS as the national payment infrastructure, established by the Bank of Ghana, does not deal directly with the public but offers its services through financial institutions particularly banks.

In an interview, the Chief Executive Officer of GhIPSS Archie Hesse said that Ghana was steadily making progress towards the reduction in cash based transactions. He explained the volume and value of transactions that passes through GhIPSS give an indication of growth in electronic payment transactions. He however added that a lot more needs to be done to achieve the desired levels of non-cash transactions.

Mr. Hesse commended financial institutions for their efforts at driving the cash-lite agenda and added that GhIPSS will continue to work with them and other stakeholders to ensure that the critical mass of electronic payment transactions is attained within the shortest possible time.

He noted that moves to link mobile money wallet to bank accounts was an important development within the financial sector, which will also help reduce cash based transactions.

Source BFT

The total value of foreign remittances received directly on e-zwich cards amounted GH¢34.9 million between January and June this year, from 16,937 transactions. This is according to the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS).

Last year, GhIPSS made it possible for foreign remittance agencies to be able to send funds directly onto e-zwich cards of intended beneficiaries in order to save them the trouble of going to banking halls to receive them.

Receiving remittances on e-zwich cards gives recipients the flexibility to decide when to use the money and what amount to spend since the funds are held on the card. It also creates convenience for the recipients because they have variety of channels to access funds on the card including e-zwich compliant ATMs, e-zwich agents as well as rural and community banks among others.

Archie Hesse, Chief Executive of GhIPSS said in an interview that remittance to e-zwich card has made life easy for many people who live outside the major cities and towns. People in rural communities, he explained are compelled to travel long distances to cities and towns just to receive their remitted funds but they are now able to receive them on the cards and access them from rural and community banks and e-zwich agents at their own convenience.

Mr. Hesse added that with the introduction of e-zwich agents throughout the country, “the place to access a foreign remitted fund is probably a block away”.

The GhIPSS CEO urged the various remittance agencies to get on board in order to allow their customers the choice to receive their funds on their e-zwich cards instead of restricting them to banking halls.

Meanwhile it is also possible for remittances to be sent directly to the bank accounts of recipients. This option also enabled by GhIPSS, has given the public a variety of avenues to receive remittances besides the traditional format of queuing at banking halls.

The two initiatives are relatively new, and so far, only three companies, Unity Link, MoneyLine UK and ATLPay are offering remittance to bank account while Unity Link is the only firm currently offering both. The other agencies are at various stages of connecting to the platform.

Mr. Hesse urged the companies to hurry so they can give their customers the opportunity to enjoy these services.

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