Business News of Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Source: Daily Guide

Emergency Automated Clearing Starts November

Banks operating in the country will offer emergency services for electronic clearing from November 1, this year in collaboration with the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS).

This will enable customers to secure speedy access to their monies when they are cleared through the Ghana Automated Clearing House (GACH).

Akosua Blay, Head of Clearing Unit at GhIPSS, who made this known Thursday in Accra after a day’s workshop for banking officials, said the workshop was to strategize on how to promote patronage of the various electronic payment systems.

The payment systems include the direct debit, direct credit and electronic clearing of cheques also known as cheque codeline clearing (CCC) system.

A number of banks are now paying their clients through direct credit. With the introduction of the emergency service, workers’ salaries will hit their accounts the same day payment instruction is issued.

The move is expected to bring to an end the delays associated with the payment of salaries due to labourious banking processes.

However, the emergency service will be limited to Direct Debit and Direct Credit of the Ghana Automated Clearing House.

Cheques will for now continue to be cleared through the normal clearing cycle, Mrs Blay explained.

GhIPSS has stepped up its campaign through workshops to encourage the use of the new payment systems which are more efficient, cheaper and quicker.

This is because the move has yielded significant dividends as the use of GACH, particularly the Direct Credit, has increased by over 100 percent between January and June, this year.

Currently, automated clearing takes place between 6 o’clock in the evening and 10 o’clock the next morning. However, with the introduction of the emergency service, “clearing will also be done between 10 o’clock in the morning and midday for presentments as well as between midday and 2 o’clock in the afternoon for returns.”

Direct Credit, which is similar to an electronic version of standing orders, is used to make recurring payments of a specific amount on a date requested by the bank customer while Direct Debit is used mainly by companies to collect monies from their customers on regularly basis.

The Chief Executive of GhIPSS, Archie Hesse, said GhIPSS would meet with other identifiable bodies to educate them on the benefits of GACH.

He advised companies and individuals to contact their bankers to set up Direct Debit and Direct Credit for them. Apart from its speed and efficiency, Direct Debit enables a service provider to know at a glance monies that have hit their accounts in real time from the comfort of their offices.

Mr Hesse also encouraged insurance companies to explore the huge benefits of the payment system.