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Business News of Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Source: Daily Graphic

GIPSS to introduce an Internet-powered payment system

The Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (GIPSS) is to introduce an Internet-powered payment system that will link some local financial service providers with their counterparts in Nigeria and Francophone West African countries.

The move is to help ease the challenges associated with inter-country trading between the countries involved.

Once introduced, traders will be spared the ordeal of carrying cash and, or converting it for the purposes of trading in Francophone countries.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GHIPSS, Mr Archie Hesse, said traders would only carry with them the needed point of sale (POS) devices to withdraw cash and make the needed payments.

According to him, the products, which are expected in the first quarter of 2013, are two of three services to be launched by GHIPSS this year.

Mr Hesse said his outfit would also add a service that would allow local shoppers the opportunity of paying for products and services through special POS devices to be introduced in that year.

"The whole idea is to make cashless transactions very appealing to people," Mr Hesse said in an interview with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS.

GHIPSS, a subsidiary of the Bank of Ghana, has since its inception in 2007 introduced several products and services aimed at making cashless transactions more appealing to all.

Its flagship product, the ezwich smart card, is currently gaining ground in the country, especially among students and informal sector employees.

GHIPSS also recently launched the GH-Link, a national interbank switching and processing system that interconnects the switches of some financial service providers to third party institutions.

The GH-Link provides banks and other financial institutions a common platform which enables them to perform a number of interbank transactions in the most effective and efficient manner. Currently, 14 banks are on the platform and their ATMS are retrofitted to work on the platform, making it possible for their individual customers to withdraw cash from each other’s ATMs.

Such a service was aimed at lessening the burden of cash withdrawal by the banking public, especially behind the counter transactions, while reducing people's reliance on cash.

With the three new services in the offing, the GHIPSS CEO said traders and the business community in general can begin to heave a big sigh of relief.

"Shopping with our local cards as one of the services will also enable people to purchase goods and services with their local cards any where they find themselves even when they don’t carry money along."

"It will reduce the burden of carrying physical cash around and also reduce the risk of being robbed by armed robbers," he said.

He thus called on all financial institutions and the general public to cooperate with GHIPSS in making those services a success.

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