The process of integrating the switches and Automated Teller Machines (ATM) to the national switch has begun for three banks. These banks are Zenith, Prudential and Cal Bank.
These banks use the NCR ATMs and postilion switches, which have long since been ready for the integration. This was disclosed by the management of Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS).
The integration process means that very soon customers of these three banks will be able to use each other�s ATMs to access their bank accounts. Other banks are expected to follow suit until all banks in the country get integrated into the national switch.
The Chief Executive of GhIPSS, Fred France, has indicated that the company is going to work assiduously to ensure the operability of banks this year and make banking more convenient to the public.
The interoperability will ensure easy banking, a move that could potentially attract the unbanked population to start using the banking system.
Analysts have argued that high operational costs of banks are partly to blame for the high interest rate regimes in Ghana. These operational costs include sitting as many ATMs as possible to create convenience for bank customers.
However, once it becomes possible for bank customers to use ATMs of other banks, it will no longer be necessary for each bank to site so many ATMs to achieve that convenience. Additionally, when it becomes possible to use the ATM cards to shop, banks can use Point of Sale devices to create branchless banking outlets and avoid the huge cost of operating a bank branch or an offsite ATM.
GhIPSS has set out to achieve full interoperability this year, and it is so far on course to achieve this goal -- which could change the face of the financial sector in Ghana.
Meanwhile, the Energy Bank is in talks with the Ghana Interbank Payment System (GhIPSS) to join the national switch platform, reports Dominick Andoh.
�We are in talks with the GhIPSS to include Energy Bank on the national switch platform,� Mr. Sam Ayininuola, Managing Director of the bank, told the B&FT in an in interview.
The implementation of the national switch platform will make it possible to use ATMs and e-zwich cards on Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) and point-of-sale devices by individuals nationwide, irrespective of their parent bank. It will also facilitate inter-operability among banks, and build an efficient financial and trading platform.
The Chief Executive Officer of GhIPSS, Mr. Frederick France, said all is set to connect two banks with a view to connect all banks by June, this year.
The cost of using the national switch is expected to be determined by individual banks during the piloting phase, while negotiations are on-going with banks for a flat-rate.
The GhIPSS has said by the second quarter of this year, Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) and ATM cards will bear a new logo that indicates to users which ATMs are inter-connected. e-zwich and ATM cards will continue to be used as normal during the piloting phase.
Under the current arrangement, ATM and e-zwich cardholders can only use their cards on ATMs of parent banks, designated ATMs and point of sale devices. Consumers of the product have complained about the inability to use their e-zwich cards on any ATM, irrespective of the bank.
The introduction of the national switch is expected to remedy the situation and provide the convenience of nationwide access as well as greater control over transactions for cardholders, retail merchants and corporate users.
e-zwich is a smart-card payment system introduced by GhIPSS in April, 2008 as an innovative method for improving accessibility to banking and retail services in Ghana. The e-zwich system offers deposit-taking financial institutions a platform that enables them to interoperate.
This enables e-zwich cardholders to perform banking and retail transactions at the outlets of other e-zwich financial institutions, and e-zwich point of sales terminals.
More than half-a-million people have the e-zwich cards, and the system continues to register increases in patronage.
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|