Ghana:Ensure safety at Christmas, go electronic

The public is being urged to make use of electronic forms of payment and reduce the risk of losing their money during the yuletide. The Christmas season is a commercially vibrant period of the year that usually sees an increase in theft and robbery cases.

As the Ghana Police cautions the public to pay attention to their personal security, the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) is also urging the public to use the various electronic payment options available and move about with less cash.

Speaking in an interview, the Chief Executive of GhIPSS Archie Hesse said it is not necessary for people to move about with huge sums of money and risk attacks by criminals. He said there are a number of electronic payment options available that can enable people to make all kinds of payments without using cash. Mr. Hesse mentioned ACH Direct Credit as a secured way of paying someone or a group of people electronically, and added that ACH Express is available for those who want same-day payments.

The GhIPSS Boss said mobile money, e-zwich, Internet banking and payment through cheques -- which also has an express window, as well as several others should be heavily patronised to reduce exposure to theft, robbery, fire and flood incidents during the festive season.

On shopping during the yuletide, the public is being challenged to use their debit cards (popularly called ATM cards) to shop when they visit outlets that have Point of Sales (POS) terminals. Mr. Hesse also challenged shop-owners to speak to their bankers and get the POSs, so they can offer cashless payment options to their customer. “Let’s remember that having your debit card means you have your entire bank account, very safe, in your pocket and so it makes a lot of business sense for shop-owners to have POSs,” he stressed.

Mr. Hesse noted that: “The issue of crime during the yuletide, and indeed the entire year, cannot be ignored, and not only should we ensure our personal safety but also that of our hard earned money”.

The GhIPSS boss also advised organisations to use ACH Direct Credit to make their bulk payments such as salaries, dividends, insurance claims, and pension benefits particularly during the yuletide. This, according to him, will ensure that the recipients -- who may be at different locations and with different banks -- will still receive the monies promptly, without the usual delays associated with the traditional way of making such bulk payments.