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GhQR logo designThe public can now pay for goods and services through the universal Gh QR code, as some six banks have started deployment. The banks are Ecobank, GCB Bank, Zenith Bank, Bank of Africa, Fidelity Bank and Agriculture Development Bank. The remaining banks are still in the process to enable them begin the rollout.

The GhQR code service was in March this year. The service adds on to the plethora of electronic payment solutions that the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) has rolled out over the years.

With the QR code, customers only need to scan the codes displayed at various shops and other outlets with their smart phones to make payment. Those who do not have smart phones can pay with their feature phones by dialling a code that will also be displayed at the merchant's location. QR code is cheap and easy to set up. It is also a quick and secure way to make payment. It takes away the direct contact associated with cash transactions, which makes it safer to use during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ecobank had earlier deplored QR codes but could only be used by their customers. However with the introduction of the Gh QR code, Ecobank has converted most of their existing QR codes of clients, to make them acceptable to all customers regardless of their banks. The other five banks have begun deploying their Gh QR codes at various outlets.

Chief Executive of GhIPSS Mr. Archie Hesse commended the banks that have started deployment and encouraged businesses to liaise with banks to have the Gh QR code installed to increase their payment options to customers. Mr. Hesse also challenged the remaining banks to quicken up the processes, as they risk losing their clients to other banks.

The QR code for payment is simple to set up as it only involves generating unique QR codes which can be a mere sticker posted on the wall of the shops or on a small stand. “Once you find the QR Code displayed, you just have to scan and you pay or dial the USSD code and pay, it is that convenient. Gh QR is universal so anyone can use any of them, regardless of your bank”, Mr. Hesse stressed.

A wide range of businesses including taxi drivers, small shops, super markets, pharmacies, chop bars, restaurants as well as major service providers can all use QR codes to accept payments, the GhIPSS Boss noted.

Ghana’s payment system has been modernised with the introduction of many electronic payment solutions that have made payment a lot more convenient, secure and faster. The addition of the Gh QR code has increased the choice that customers have to pay for goods and services. This will eliminate the several instances where businesses lose out, because the customer has run out of cash.

Currently customers can pay from either their bank account or mobile money wallet through different channels such as MoMo pay, POS and now Gh QR code among others.

GhIPSS introduces Near Real Time Payment platform for bulk payments

Direct Credit

 

The Ghana Interbank Payments and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), a subsidiary of the Bank of Ghana, has introduced a Near Real Time (NRT) Automated Clearing House (ACH) Direct Credit platform that allows Corporate Institutions to make bulk payments much faster.

The service, being rendered in collaboration with the banks, is designed to enhance the efficiency of making bulk payments such as salaries, pensions and dividends within just 15 minutes, instead of the previous four to 24 hours.

A statement from GhIPSS said the platform provided corporate Institutions a viable alternative to Cheques and allowed them to credit the accounts of beneficiaries on a bulk payments list within 15 minutes. NRT is an addition to GhIPSS’ existing ACH Direct Credit platform.

This means, under this new ACH DC NRT regime, it will take 15 minutes for money sent from one source account to multiple accounts in different banks to be credited to the receivers’ accounts instead of the previous 24 hours.

“Corporate institutions have the opportunity to make bulk payments anytime between 6:00pm the previous day and 3:00pm the following day and the payees’ accounts will be credited in 15 minutes – almost in real time,” it explained.

GhIPSS said NRT is an efficient payment option, which provided transparency and certainty of payments because it allowed banks of corporate institutions to re-present returned payment details within the same session.

“Corporate institutions can correct all payment errors for re-presentment without fear of missing payment timelines,” it explained adding that the system also allowed for deadline payments to be met quickly.

“ACH DC NRT can be accessed by organisations through their banks as well as savings and loans companies for the payments of salaries, allowances, pensions, welfare benefits, suppliers and all other bulk payment types.”

The statement quoted GhIPSS CEO, Archie Hesse as saying, “Direct Credit NRT is a major addition to the plethora of electronic payment solutions, which will be extremely useful to businesses and other organizations.”

He encouraged organisations seeking to make faster bulk payments, to use the NRT to ensure that intended recipients received the money almost immediately.

ACH DC is a secure and reliable bulk payments service, which allows corporate institutions to make single or batched payments by electronically transferring funds directly into different bank accounts across different banks within Ghana.

It comes in three forms – Standard ACH DC, Express ACH DC and now the newly introduced ACH DC NRT.

Standard ACH DC allows businesses to make bulk payments to different beneficiary accounts across different banks and recipients’ accounts are credited within 24 hours after payment lists have been submitted to the paying corporate institution’s bank.

However, Express ACH DC allows that same process within four hours, while the now ACH NRT has reduced the time to 15 minutes.

 
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 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.

 

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.

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