Banking Survey 2020:eTranzact’s EMV gh-link card makes life very comfortable


The banking sector is experiencing competitive disruption constantly, particularly the digital segment of the sector, with competitive advantage being redefined daily.

Digital disruption is occurring at every level of the financial services industry. New competitors, new channels, new processes, and new consumer expectations are shifting the banking industry paradigm. This is making decision-makers to tilt towards balancing the need to be an agile responder, while realizing that many of the changes required will take time and may be costly.

Strangely, the card space in the financial services industry has not witnessed much of these constant paradigm shifts but the space is rather shrinking. This is not because there is no technology to revive it but rather, financial stakeholders seem to be shifting their attention to other new and emerging areas such as mobile banking services to drive their businesses.

Mobile financial services have contributed in no small measure, to the advancement of financial paradigm shift being experienced by many banks today. However, the role of cards within the industry cannot be under-estimated, especially with the right mix between foreign and tailor-made local card solutions with global standards. This is the reason we at eTranzact decided to partner with the national switch – GhIPSS to deploy the first-ever cost-effective local EMV card services for the advantage of the financial services in Ghana.

The standards and features of this EMV card service compete favourably with other EMV card solutions around the world. Also, it focuses on local use cases that the foreign cards are not able to compete with, especially in cost, which is one of the key factors that drives the adoption and implementation of EMV card services for local solutions.

About the EMV gh-link Card

In the recent partnership arrangement between eTranzact, a major local EMV card processor in Ghana and the National Switch, GhIPSS, the operator of the gh-link scheme, the EMV card was launched to signal a major paradigm shift in the EMV card industry from being 100% foreign and solely dominated by foreign cards association.

The card, christened gh-link EMV card is the first local EMV card with all global standards, brought about by the partnership between eTranzact and GhIPSS. The card comes in two variants – the debit card and the prepaid card.

Debit Card Variant

The debit card variant of the gh-link EMV card is issued by banks in Ghana to their customers. Just like any other debit card, the card is connected directly to the bank account of the cardholder with all the infrastructure managed by the issuing bank.  The architecture is not different from the other debit card architectures. It requires direct integration to the CBA directly or indirectly through the bank’s switch.

However, the bank would not have to go through Card Perso Customization and EMV Issuer Scripting and Authorization. These have been implemented and the issuing bank only needs a BIN (from GhIPSS) to leverage the existing implementation between eTranzact and GhIPSS for quick onboarding.

Prepaid EMV Card Variant

The local Prepaid card (EMV) has been non-existent until now within the financial service space. A couple of banks were known to have issued the VISA and MasterCard variant of prepaid cards. However, these are very limited in handling most local use cases largely because of cost and inability to be fully integrated for local usage. Moreover, the cost of implementation may not match up with the expected revenue from these use cases.

These made the gh-link EMV card an obvious choice for banks who seek profitability and quick-to-market solutions such as various cost-effective use cases like ID cards, association cards, discount and loyalty cards, etc.

Functionalities of the gh-link EMV Prepaid Card

Among others, below are the key functionalities of the EMV prepaid cards;

  1. Gh-link ATMs enabled
  2. Gh-link POS terminals enabled
  3. Web transactions enabled (gh-link and eTranzact internet payment gateways only)
  4. Mobile wallet funding available from all mobile wallet platforms;
  5. Funding from any GIP Bank account
  6. Cards can be funded at designated banks’ branches;
  7. Enabled for mobile phone transactions (USSD and mobile APP);
  8. Card to Card transactions using the mobile phone;
  9. Card can be used to purchase airtime, pay bills, purchase data bundle, transfer to another card, etc
  10. Foreign Remittances can be terminated directly onto the card

Benefits to the Banking Sector

  1. Low cost of onboarding
  2. Additional Float from non-customers of the bank
  3. Quick onboard and quick-to-market Prepaid Card Solutions
  4. Additional streams of income from other usage of the card such as airtime, bill payment, fund transfer etc
  5. Co-branding opportunities for bank’s key clients.
  6. 24/7 second level support for all the card issues

gh-link EMV Card Security

The new gh-link EMV card is generally more secure than the older gh-link cards which have magnetic stripes. The EMV card security features advanced global security standards that are employed by EUROPAY, MASTERCARD and VISA schemes. Below are some of these security features;

  1. Chip and PIN – Being a chip card, cardholders’ details are protected from cyber fraudsters such that the details are very difficult to access to be used for unauthorized transactions, unlike the magstripe cards. Every transaction is protected with a PIN;
  2. PIN can easily be changed by the cardholder’s mobile phone, in case the PIN is compromised or the card is missing.
  3. Funds on the card remain intact if the card is missing.
  4. Chip and PIN cards have sophisticated encryption built right into the CHIP with dynamics data written to the chip every-time transactions take place, making it extremely difficult for fraudsters to clone or duplicate.

eTranzact Ghana has emerged as a proven leader in electronic payments and aggregation solutions.  Since the commencement of operations in 2006, the company has been tailoring electronic payment solutions for banks and private businesses of all types and sizes throughout Ghana.

The company offers a complete portfolio of payment options and services that help simplify payment acceptance in all spheres of industry. It offers a range of services through multiple electronic channels: mobile handsets, ATMs, internet, Point of Sale terminals, and also through Teller access points at partner bank branches. eTranzact Ghana currently provides various services to 13 banks and two savings and loans companies.

The company also partners through direct integrations with industry partners such as the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), all Telecommunications and mobile money solutions providers, utility companies as well as Money Transfer Organizations abroad to provide a wide range of services. eTranzact’s ISO 27001 certification underpins its passion for upholding and maintaining information security standards within the payment industry.

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