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Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Limited (GhIPSS) is set to launch a bank card which has the functionalities of an e-zwich and gh-link card on Wednesday.

 

The launch is part of efforts to encourage the use of cards for transactions. It is to provide the public with the option of carrying one card with dual functionalities instead of two separate cards.

e-zwich has seen a steady rise in transactions over the past years.
 
In the first half of this year alone, over 5.5 million e-zwich transactions took place, representing an increase of over 51 per cent over the same period in 2018, which was about 3.6 million transactions. The continuous growth in e-zwich transactions suggests that there are several people who use e-zwich cards but also have their regular gh-link cards and are compelled to carry both cards at all times. But with the introduction of the new card, such people can opt for it but still enjoy the functionalities of both.
It is anticipated that more people will be inclined to carry one card and use it regularly than to carry two or more cards each time.
 
The Chief Executive of GhIPSS, Archie Hesse is positive that the various efforts at promoting electronic payments are yielding positive results and new initiatives will continue to be rolled out to further deepen electronic payments in Ghana.
 
Although cash transactions continue to dominate, available figures point to a gradual reduction, as the volume of electronic payment transactions see consistent growth. In the first half of this year, the volume of electronic payment transactions monitored by GhIPSS stood at over 16 million compared to 12.2 million transactions for the first half-year of 2018, representing an increase of over 31 per cent.
 

In order to continue to reduce cash base transactions, various efforts continued to be pursued by key stakeholders such as GhIPSS, the Banks, Fintechs and other related organisations. The launch of the new card is, therefore, one of such efforts to encourage more people to opt for electronic payment channels.

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has launched what has been described as the world’s first dual-purpose EMV and financial inclusion payment card in Accra.
 
Known as the Gh Dual Card, the new product, being rolled out by the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Limited (GhIPSS), is a two-in-one payment card that has both the e-zwich and gh-link applications. It can therefore be used either as e-zwich, gh-link or both as desired on payment platforms.
 
According to officials of GhIPSS, the card has been designed to give cardholders access to both funds on their e-zwich cards and in their bank accounts at the same time, and seeks to eliminate the inconvenience that comes with carrying multiple Cards.
 
The card can be used by cardholders for any point of sale purchase across merchant locations; ATM cash withdrawals; ATM PIN change; and Balance Enquiry. Thus, any customer who has an e-zwich card and also owns a bank account can opt for a Gh Dual Card instead of two separate cards.
 
Speaking at the launch ceremony on Wednesday, 7th August, 2019, Vice President Bawumia celebrated the strides Ghana continues to make in the quest for greater financial inclusion, in order to ensure holistic national development.
 

 

“We have in the past two years seen a convergence towards electronic based services as a country and it is a deliberate policy by His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to use technology to drive efficiency as we grow the economy and move Ghana beyond aid. Many a time we tend to look at what other countries are doing without recognizing the great strides we are making.
 
“Today, thanks to the hard work of GhIPSS and partner institutions such as the banks, Telcos and Fintechs, financial inclusion and intermediation has improved significantly. Ghanaians can now move funds seamlessly across the various payment platforms: mobile wallets, e-zwich wallets and bank accounts.
 
“This dual card is part of the payment system architecture that we are putting in place. What we are launching today, which is the dual e-zwich card and gh-link card, is a world first; its not happened anywhere in the world. It is the first time that any country in the world is issuing this combined EMV card and a financial inclusion card. It is remarkable, and will further promote financial inclusion in Ghana.
 
“In the payment systems space, and I’m not shy about saying this, it is clear that Ghana is now the undisputed leader in Africa.”

 
Vice President Bawumia continued,
 
“There is no doubt that Ghana's Interoperable platforms have improved significantly our National Financial Inclusion drive. It has served well the financially excluded and underserved. Now, practically, everyone has access to basic banking services. Many people have been roped into the formal banking environment by virtue of the convenience created by the interoperability and people are accessing credit as well as investing through their mobile phones.
 
“With where we have gotten to as a country and the passage of the Payment Systems and Services Act, which the President has assented to, the sky is no longer the limit.”

The use of Instant Pay for funds transfers or payments, continue to record impressive growth, latest figures from the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) have shown.

 

According to the GhIPSS 2019 Half Year Industry Performance Report, the volume of the GhIPSS Instant Pay (GIP) transactions shot up to 350,666 between January and June this year compared to 57,301 recorded over the same period last year.

This represents a huge growth of 512 per cent.
 
The growth in the patronage of GIP has been consistent. In the first quarter of this year, it grew by 423.9 per cent from 24,227 in the first quarter of 2018 to 126,925 transactions. The higher percentage growth in the half-year performance indicates that patronage keeps rising.
 

Instant Pay is an electronic payment system that enables a customer to transfer money from one bank account to another of a different bank and the transfer is effected instantly.

Various banks offer Instant Pay on different platforms including internet and mobile banking platforms and some banks have christened it differently. The generic name in Ghana however is GhIPSS Instant Pay (GIP)
 

Instant Pay, just as other products by GhIPSS, are offered by the banks to the public.

 
However, because the GIP platform enables real instant transfers, many financial institutions and Fintechs are using it to support various other products. It is therefore highly possible that any real time electronic payment that you make, regardless of name given to it by the service provider, is running on GIP.
 
The Instant Pay platform was introduced to make it possible for individuals and businesses to be able to meet urgent payment commitments and without the need to physically move to a banking hall.
 
It is part of the major efforts to encourage people to keep their money with the banks, knowing that they can access it and make instant payments with their funds even though they are lodged with a bank.
 
Chief Executive of GhIPSS, Mr Archie Hesse is hopeful that patronage for Instant Pay will continue to go up since there was a real need for it.
 
He urged financial institutions to continue to inform their customers about the existence of the Instant Pay service, so that people who need to make or receive funds instantly can resort to it.
 

He stated that GhIPSS would continue to introduce innovative ways of improving the payment system landscape, adding that the public should expect new initiatives soon.

 
 

The value of transactions done on the mobile money interoperability platform for the half year of 2019, witnessed some significant increase. It reached GH¢217 million according to  data from the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlements Systems.

This represents about 756% increase from what was recorded in 2018.
 
In terms of volumes, more than 2.5 million transactions were completed for the first half of this year. 
 

Introduced in May last year, Mobile Money Interoperability (MMI) allows subscribers to undertake mobile money transactions across the various network as well as from e-zwich card & bank accounts.  The MMI platform recorded more than 4.4 million transactions in its first year of operation.

 
Beginning with just 96,907 transactions in its first month, public usage of the cross-network platform grew phenomenally to 422,275 transactions in December last year and 502,873 transactions in May this year.
 

Chief Executive of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlements System, Archie Hesse, said the numbers is an indication of the value the service has created for customers.   He added that GhIPSS is committed to finding ways to encourage more subscribers to use the platform.

The Chief Executive Officer of GhIPSS, Mr. Archie Hesse has been awarded the Payment Industry Personality of the Year at the 2019 Edition of the Ghana Information Technology & Telecoms (GITTA) Awards.


He was honoured for his contributions to the development of Ghana's payment systems; as well as for spearheading the development of the Mobile Money Interoperability platform after GhIPSS was commissioned by the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia to develop the MMI platform.


The Mobile Money Interoperability (MMI) platform has recorded more than 4.4 million transactions since it introduction in May, 2018. Beginning with just 96,907 transactions in May, 2018, public usage of the cross-network platform has grown phenomenally from 422,275 transactions in December last year to 502,873 transactions in May this year.


Archie Hesse, joined GhIPSS in 2007 as a General Manager in charge of Projects & Business Development.  Whilst in that role, he spearheaded the implementation of a National Biometric Smart Card Banking and Payment System – e-zwich, the Cheque Codeline Clearing (CCC) System, the Ghana Automated Clearing House (GACH) Systems for direct debit and direct credit, and the National Switching and Processing System – gh-link until his appointment as CEO in July 2012.   

 Under his leadership, GhIPSS introduced many reforms that have helped Ghana achieve “Universal Interoperability” with the completion of the mobile money interoperability Phase 1 & 2.This achievement contributes to increasing electronic transactions in the Ghanaian economy, increasing efficiency in payments, and improving financial inclusion by bridging the gap between the banked and the unbanked.

About GITTA Awards
Now in its 9th year, the Ghana Information Technology & Telecom Awards is the most prestigious awards program in the industry. GITTA has become one of the industry’s most prized honors. It is an accolade given to individuals and teams. It is a vindication of the hard work, innovation and dedication of those at the forefront of this dynamic global profession.

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