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Business News of Friday, 29 May 2015

Source: GNA

Banks urged to take up acquirer role to deepen POS activities

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) Mr Archie Hesse has urged banks to perform the function of an acquirer, as the country makes strides into a cash-lite economy.

Speaking on the sidelines of a media training programme, Mr Hesse said currently more of the banks prefer to just issue ATM cards rather than to acquire Point of Sales (POS) devices for their merchant customers.

He said such a disposition may not favour the banks in the near future.

In the electronic payment system, the acquiring bank is one that acquires POS device and help set them up for their customers who are merchants or own shopping outlets.

Such banks may own the POSes and give them out to their customers or rent them.

The banks could also choose to sell the POSes to the customers on credit.

The acquiring bank would also perform various activities to ensure that the POS is functional at all the times and earn some revenue for the role.

However, due to the relative underdeveloped nature of electronic payment systems in Ghana, the banks appear to be comfortable in issuing ATM cards and outlets, leaving just a few banks who are in the POS acquiring business.

But Mr Hesse said in future much of the business would be in acquiring as a number of non-cash payment initiatives take root.

“As more people begin to pay for transactions using their ATM cards, acquiring banks will be at the receiving end of the floats,” he said.

Mr Hesse is confident that with the rollout of the hybrid POSes, as well as various initiatives to pay public sector workers on e-zwich, in addition to the Internet Gateway project, which would enable bank customers to use their local ATM cards to make payment online, there would be a significant increase in the use of cards for payments.

The GhIPSS CEO, therefore, encouraged the banks to plan their businesses well before they lose out.

An acquiring bank also perform functions such processing of payments, payment of funds to merchants, undertaking risk assessment and in some cases some fraud risk on behalf of the merchants or the shop owner who is a customer of the bank.

As some banks are less willing to be POS acquirers, others are working to expand their network of merchants with POSes.