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The transaction volume for the GhIPSS Instant Pay (GIP), Ghana’s real-time interbank transfer service,  has gone up by almost 600 per cent in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period last year.

The volume of GIP transactions at the end of June 2020 stood at 2.45 million compared to 350,666 for the same period in 2019.

GIP is an electronic payment system that enables a customer to transfer money from one bank account to another of a different bank or a wallet instantly.

Commenting on the performance, Mr Archie Hesse, the Chief Executive Officer of GhIPSS, said that the persistent growth in GIP transactions was largely because it had allowed people to make and receive payments instantly even without the need to move to a banking hall."With increasing advocacy for electronic payment options due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is anticipated that GIP will continue to enjoy high usage," he said.

Though instant pay can be accessed from the banking halls, it is mostly available on the various internet and mobile banking platforms of the banks. Many Fintechs also ride on the GIP technology for their money transfer services.

Mr Hesse said GhIPSS would enhance public education on GIP to ensure that more people are aware of the service and use it to make payments more convenient and efficient.

He is hopeful that GIP will continue to record growth in patronage as more people turn to electronic forms of payments."With increasing advocacy for electronic payment options due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is anticipated that GIP will continue to enjoy high usage," he said. Mr Hesse expressed the hope that with GIP and Mobile Money Interoperability, two very important payment interventions, people outside the banking sector can be included in the formal financial sector.

 
The CEO of the Ghana Interbank Payment Settlements and Systems (GhIPSS), Archie Hesse, has commended GOIL for taking a giant leap by enabling its Point of sale terminals to accept gh-link cards.
 
GhIPSS, he noted will pursue its mandate to migrate Ghana into an electronic payment society noting GOIL has shown great leadership and achieved a great feat for being the first OMC to partner his outfit, emphasizing ‘GOIL must be celebrated for this’.
 
He was speaking at a ceremony to launch the use of the gh-link card on GOIL’s Point of Sale (POS) devices across the country. With this development, all gh-link cardholders can use their cards to pay for the fuel at all Goil locations across the country.
 
The Chief Operating Officer COO, of GOIL, Alex Adzew, who spoke on behalf of the Group CEO/Managing Director, Kwame Osei -Prempeh, noted the company is pushing a drive to increase digitized payments to help eliminate the use of physical cash at its service stations.
 
He said it was of utmost importance now to eliminate the use of physical cash adding that digital payment for goods and services must be encouraged because of its convenience especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
The Head of Payment Systems Department of Bank of Ghana, Dr Settor Amediku, who represented the Governor of Bank of Ghana, said, given the exigencies of the times and the uptakes in electronic transactions, GOIL has taken the right steps and shown leadership by collaborating with GhIPSS to broaden the scope of its electronic sales products.
 
The Board Chairman of GOIL, Kwamena Bartels said apart from delivering convenience to customers, GOIL’s move, the first by an Oil Marketing Company, was part of efforts to drive the national digitization agenda spearheaded by the Vice-President of Ghana.
 
A demonstration of the card usage and transaction was later done by GOIL’s head of IT, Planning and Research, Anthony Twumasi.
 
He explained that using the gh-link card at GOIL service stations offers an opportunity for good record-keeping at each purchase with withdrawals recorded automatically on customers’ monthly bank statements, helping card-holders track and manage transactions.
 

The launch was also attended by some Board and management members of GOIL, officials of GhIPSS, GOIL’s Brand Ambassador, COPEC and representatives of some Banks.

The public will have to accept electronic payment channels as their default form of payment, to stay safe as scientists predict that the Coronavirus will linger on for a while. This is because quite a number of electronic payment channels do not require physical contacts for payments to be effected.

 
Ghana has been rolling out a number of measures to help in the fight against the spread of the pandemic, including a partial lockdown at a point and currently, restrictions on social gathering among others.  However recent conversations globally point to a gradual easing of restrictions, to allow life to return to what is being described as the new normal.
 
Speaking in an interview, the Chief Executive of Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), Mr Archie Hesse said electronic payment is one of the ‘new normal’ that must be adhered to, in order to live with the virus.  He explained that there are several electronic payment options that do not require physical contact and urged the public to consider them as their default mode of payment, even if Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed.
 
Cash transactions have been described as a possible conduit for the spread of COVID-19 if the use of cash remains high. In advanced countries where e-commerce and electronic payment channels are common, the concerns about cash spreading the virus are hardly talked about, but Ghana is confronted with this challenge.
 
The Bank of Ghana, GhIPSS and financial institutions have been campaigning for the use of electronic payment options. But there are fears that people’s adherence to this advice could wane if restrictions are relaxed. But the GhIPSS Boss said a sustained campaign by all stakeholders could be helpful. He, therefore, urged financial institutions to continue to encourage their customers to use their electronic payment solutions.
 
The GhIPSS CEO noted that traders and businesses in general play a crucial role in getting the public to use more of the electronic payment channels. He explained that once merchants, including micro-scale operators such as table-top or corner shops, agree to accept mobile money and transfers from bank accounts, many people will find the need to use more of these channels than cash.
 

Mr Hesse, therefore, encouraged shop owners to accept at least the basic electronic payment channels such as mobile money. “Big shops and businesses can accept a whole range of electronic channels such as GIP, ACH, and other electronic transfers, while the medium can do the QR codes and even the bank transfers but there should be no excuse for people not to accept at least mobile money”, he stressed. “These electronic channels actually bring in more income to shop owners and businesses, because your customers have a wider option to pay you, including money that they do not readily have on them”, Mr Hesse added.

 
Mr Hesse urged the public to continue to observe the safety protocols and patronise businesses that give them electronic payment options.

 

Express ACH Direct Credit recorded a 51 percent growth in its volume of transactions in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2019, according to the first quarter product performance report by the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS).

Express ACH Direct Credit recorded a total of 286,516 transactions from January to March this year compared to 189,587 for the same period in 2019. This points to increasing public preference for payment systems that offer them faster access to their funds. ACH Direct Credit is an electronic form of transferring funds from one bank account to another. A regular Direct Credit transfer is effected between 24 and 48 hours, however, an express Direct Credit is effected the same day, once the request is made before 10 O’clock in the morning.
 
The over 50 percent growth in Express ACH is significantly higher than the 12 percent growth that the regular ACH Direct Credit recorded during the first quarter of this year. It is also better than the 3 percent drop in the volume of cheque transactions. The growth in the volume of Express ACH Direct Credit follows a similar growth pattern in payment channels such as GhIPSS Instant Pay and Mobile Money, all of which offer faster access to transferred funds.
 
The world is gravitating towards faster access to funds or real-time payments with many banks and FinTechs streamlining traditional banking services to build their business models around real-time payments.
 
The Chief Executive of GhIPSS Archie Hesse suggested that changing lifestyle, technology and in particular the prevalence of smartphones are some of the reasons why the preference for faster or real-time payments keep rising. He explained that GhIPSS is in tune with the trend and will continue to develop payment solutions that meet what he described as “the instant economy”.
 

GhIPSS earlier this year launched the universal QR code and the Proxy Pay, both of which are in line with faster and real-time payments. Mr Hesse hinted and many products have been lined up to add on to the existing list of real-time payment channels.

conta ctThe public is being advised to use payment options that reduces their contact with persons in order to reduce exposure to the corona virus. The need to use contactless forms of payment has become necessary following the report of 6 confirmed corona virus cases in Ghana.

Many people rely heavily on cash for payment but that will not be the best option in this era of the pandemic, as it increases contact and the currency notes could also serve as carriers. The use of mobile money for payment and other electronic payment options such as internet banking, mobile banking applications as well as others such as Automated Clearing House (ACH) are preferred channels of payment in the wake of the pandemic.

Speaking in an interview in Accra, the Chief Executive of Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), Archie Hesse urged the people who have not signed up for electronic payment channels such as internet banking and mobile banking applications to do so in order to use them.  He also advised those who have already sign on to these electronic forms of payments to use them and reduce their use of cash.

“Even for the very basic transactions at market places, before you make any payment, ask if the person can receive mobile money, so that you pay with mobile money instead of cash”, Mr. Hesse emphasised. Mr. Hesse advised traders, shop owners and all merchants to accept mobile money and other contactless electronic forms of payments. “It is very important that those who sell to us must now prefer mobile money and other mobile payment options. Those who can, should even encourage their customers to pay them using internet banking. We have these contactless payment channels, let’s use them and save our own lives”, the GhIPSS Boss admonished.The GhIPSS CEO also advised corporate organisations to turn to ACH and other electronic forms of payment instead of cheques, since cheque increases chances of contact.

He commended banks who have sent out messages to their customers encouraging them to use electronic payment channels, saying that it was a step in the right direction. GhIPSS is in the process of rolling out QR codes, though this payment channel will require the physical presence of the customer, it none the less allow for the needed social distance, as the customer will only need to scan the displayed QR code, or dial the merchant’s code for those with feature phones. The world is reeling under the corona virus pandemic, and every effort to prevent its spread including payment, should be avoided, Mr. Hesse added.

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