Businesses will have to adapt to the changing payment system in order to support the cash-lite drive. This is according to Mr. Archie Hesse, the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (GhIPSS). He said some long-held corporate practices will have be aligned to electronic payments.
Ghana since 2007 has been making steady and significant progress toward an electronic payment society with the introduction of many electronic payment channels. The next major initiative will lead to a total interoperability of the financial system, whereby bank accounts will be linked to the various mobile money platforms as well as e-zwich and vice versa. There will also be interoperability among the various mobile money platforms. The landmark achievement should allow for seamless transfer of funds in the country.
However, Mr. Hesse cautioned that if some traditional corporate practices are not realigned, the expected gains may take a much longer time. He mentioned, for instance, that businesses both small and big should not consider cheques as the only formal way of paying their service providers and clients. Instead, they should also use various electronic payment channels and treat them as formal.
He explained that corporate institutions can use Automated Clearing House (ACH) Direct Credit, Instant pay, e-bills pay and other electronic payment options to pay their service providers. “Our internal and external payment procedures should now accept electronic payments as official forms of payment, even if it meant making minor changes to our documentation system.” He said cheques are becoming old-fashioned compared to other options.
The use of ACH Direct Credit has gone up incredibly, rubbing shoulders with cheques in terms of volume of transaction. Mr. Hesse said the increasing use of ACH shows that cheques can no longer be considered as the only formal way of making corporate payments. He added that there are far more efficient ways of making payments compared to cheques, and called for a shift from cheques to other, more efficient, electronic payment channels.
Mr. Hesse also challenged utility providers who offer prepaid services to also adapt their systems to accept electronic payment options such as mobile money, online and mobile banking channels. He explained that besides the efficiency it brings to firms, it also brings convenience to customers.
Mr. Hesse is hopeful that non-cash forms of payment are going to rise significantly – but said organisations realigning payment procedures could expedite the cash-lite agenda.