A number of bank customers have expressed concern over the Bank of Ghana’s directive for all banking transactions to be done with nothing else besides the Ghana Card, saying the challenges with accessing the card make the July deadline too close.
Findings made by the B&FT through interviews indicate that most customers are not against the directive given by the central bank. However, they are worried that they may not be able to get the Ghana Card before the July 1 deadline owing to long queues at the various National Identification Authority (NIA) registration centres – which is making it frustrating to get the card.
For this reason, some bank customers want the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to extend the deadline to enable everyone have access to the card before implementing the directive.
A public relations practitioner, Akua Owusu-Ansah said: “The Bank of Ghana’s direction is not a bad idea. But for someone like me who registered for the card as far back as 2018 and is yet to receive it, I will be at a disadvantaged end of the stick come July 1.I have been to various identification offices and I’m met with constant excuses.
“And not only does that not speak well of our agencies, it also pushes a lot of people to find illegal means to get the card because they want to be able to transact business with banks in the country.
“Also, there are Ghanaians who live abroad and come home, often with bank accounts in the various banks; are they expected to have the Ghana card before they transact business? I think the date should be moved a bit further to make room for people who are yet to secure their Ghana card.”
Another bank customer, Reginald Ofori, said he agrees with the central bank on the directive to accept only the Ghana Card for financial transactions, but he also joined the many voices calling for easy access to the card.
“I appreciate the fact that they want to make it the main form of identification for bank transactions. We need this as a country because we have too many forms of identification.
You go to a bank and someone will come and transact business using his or her national health insurance, while others use their passports and voters’ ID.
“But if we have a uniform means of identification for these transactions, I believe things would be smoother and faster at the banks. However, I think if they go the route of using the Ghana card, they should make it easy to acquire,” he said.
For fashion-designer, Ellen Darko – who is obviously fed-up with the frustrations of acquiring the card, she said the move is not necessary as it is going to increase the pressure already existing at registration centres.
“I believe the directive is unnecessary because not everyone has the Ghana card. The process of even securing the card is cumbersome. I went through the process of registering for the card, and getting access to the card has become a burden.
“I have had to move from one municipality to the other with no hope of getting my card; and should this persist, how am I going to be able to update my records at the bank? We were doing alright without it, and I think we should stick to the old ways of doing things,” she said.
The BoG’s directive
A public notice released by the bank on January 19, 2022 has instructed banks, Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions (SDIs), non-Deposit-Taking Financial Institutions, payment service providers, and dedicated electronic money issuers, forex bureaus and credit reference bureaus, not to accept any form of identification for transaction purposes except the Ghana Card issued by the National Identification Authority (NIA).
Customers of all the affected institutions are therefore advised to update their records with their respective financial institutions with their Ghana card.