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Ghana Integrates Bank ATMs
Source: The Chronicle
Source Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Focus: Citizen Engagement, Internet Governance
Country: Ghana
Created: Oct 24, 2012

Nine banks in Ghana have integrated their information technologies (TIs) to enable them accept one another's Automated Teller Machines (ATM) cards as a way of facilitating business transactions in the country. This means that customers of these nine banks could access their bank account and make withdrawals from the ATMs of any of the nine banks. The move is also aimed at helping the banks provide various banking services to their customers at a speed. These major banks are Ghana Commercial Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Agriculture Development Bank and Zenith Bank. Others include HFC Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), UT Bank, Prudential Bank and the Bank of Africa, while four other banks, Ecobank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Unibank and new entrant, Energy Bank, are close to completing the process, according to the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Interbank, Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), Archie Hesse. Archie Hesse added that the nine banks were now connected, adding that transactions monitored showed that some members of the public were already enjoying the service. "We notice that the take up has been rising and it is obvious that the public is on board. "Until now, only customers of banks which issued Visa branded cards could enjoy that service," Hesse said. The CEO of GhIPSS revealed that the gh-link would be officially launched by the middle of November (next month) with the number of banks that will be ready by that date. He explained that the other banks which may not be ready by the launch date would be subsequently added. The interbank ATM switching is the first phase of a series of new services to be launched on the gh-link, Hesse indicated. After the ATMs are linked, the next phase would be to enable the local ATM cards to be used in Point of Sale (POS) device, so that bank customers can shop with their normal ATM cards, the GhISS boss disclosed. ItNewsGhana checks revealed that the interoperability of the local ATMs of these banks marks the realization of a long held dream which remained on the drawing board until the Bank of Ghana established Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) some five years ago. GhIPSS has led the reform of the payment systems, acquired the National Electronic Platform christened gh-link, to enable all banks to interconnect to ensure that Ghana move away from the era when customers had to travel long distances to access their money from the ATM. It is envisaged that soon, all ATMs hooked to the National Platform would carry the gh-link label and logo to indicate the readiness of such ATM outlets to accept the local or proprietary cards. This will happen before the service is officially launched.
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