The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has given banks another four months to ready their systems for instant transfer of funds electronically within the banking sector.
Last year the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (GhIPSS) introduced the GhIPSS Instant Pay (GIP) aimed at encouraging electronic fund transfers within the bankings sector, thereby reducing cash-based transactions in the country.
Howover, only nine out of the 29 banks in the country can complete both ends of the system (receiving and transfering), while the vast majority can only receive but not transfer.
The extension of the deadline from August to December this year is, therefore, to give the banks more time to properly collaborate in developing products and services that will make it possible for them to implement the Interbank Instant Pay system which is needed to help promote a society where electronic payment systems are fancied over physical cash.
The initiative is to place much emphasies on the GIP solution, an innovation by GhIPSS in support of its mandate to facilitate a cash-lite society.
The Chief Executive Officer of the GhIPSS, Mr Archie Hesse, told the Daily Graphic in Accra that the extension of the deadline followed the inability of the banks to live up to the BoG directive which required that they create proper synergies for the increased promotion and usage of electronic payment systems.
That, he said, prompted the central bank to extend the period by the additional four months.
He spoke to the paper on the sidelines of a day’s workshop on instant payments in Accra on August 4.
“Our wish is that at least every bank must, as a minimum, be able to receive. So, I might not be able to effect Instant Pay transactions but I must, at least, be able to receive it,” he said, in reference to the need for collaboration among the banks.
“In terms of being able to receive, I believe about nine banks are ready,” he explained.
For banks that enabled the feature, their customers can send and receive money using the platform. Among other things, mobile phones could be used to link customer accounts, making it possible for them to transact with these devices.
“These are channels that are available but it will not happen overnight. We believe that it is in the right direction and we believe that by December, most of the banks would have enabled themselves to be able to send and receive.”
“If that happens, then what will be left is to develop products around it.”
Impact on businesses
GhIPSS, which is responsible for management of payment systems in the country, introduced the likes of the e-zwich, Cheque Codeline Clearing system (CCC), Automated Clearing House system (GACH) and the National Switching and Pressing system (Gh-link) to help drive home its agenda of a cash-lite society.
Beyond easing the challenges of transacting with cash, GhIPPS’ initiatives have helped to raise patronage for the products of businesses.
Going forward, Mr Hesse said his outfit would continue to push for a better payment system, which is a prerequisite to sound economic development.
He mentioned improved cash flow, the creation of a competitive advantage for businesses and a friendly customer environment as some of the benefits businesses would be expected to reap.