Firms urged to stop table-top payments

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Employers who continue to pay their workers cash are being advised to stop the practice, especially because of the corona virus pandemic. This is because experts have argued that cash could be a mode of transmitting the virus.

Financial institutions have been encouraging the public to turn to electronic payment channels to reduce their exposure to the virus. While many shops now accept electronic payments, especially mobile money, paying wages and salaries of some organisations’ employees in cash remains a challenge.

Relatively small companies as well as those with a large casual workforce tend to pay their workers in cash. This practice has been going on despite the several electronic options that exist. The practice of paying workers off the table-top poses risks to both the employer and employee in the forms of armed-robbery and pilfering.

With the coronavirus pandemic, the practice also poses serious health risks to the person paying as well as those receiving the cash. Besides possible transmission of the virus through handling the cash, paying cash to such large numbers of people can hardly be done without compromising physical distancing.

Speaking in an interview, the Chief Executive of Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems, Archie Hesse, urged company managements to stop paying workers in cash for the sake of their own and employees’ safety.  He urged them to use any of the many electronic payment options available.

Mr. Hesse explained that companies can use ACH Direct Credit or e-zwich to pay their employees, including those they consider as casual. He said smaller firms, such as those into construction, can use mobile money if they find the other electronic payment channels too complex for their operations.

The GhIPSS boss noted: “It would be such a terrible thing to contract the virus by receiving your salary or wages through cash; this is very avoidable. It is even not convenient that anytime you have to pay salaries or wages someone must be physically present, when you can do that remotely”.

Mr. Hesse pleaded with companies who still do table-top payments to stop and speak to their banks or credible FinTechs for advice on the various payment options that suit their operations.

He said GhIPSS Instant Pay, mobile banking apps and mobile money are options available to small firms, while the larger ones can opt for ACH Direct Credit, e-zwich and others that can be used for bulk transfers.

Ghana continues to record increases in the number of positive cases, prompting the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to stress the need to observe safety protocols.  Practices such as table-top payment, however, remain obstacles in the effort to stop spread of the virus.

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