ARB Apex Bank first to roll out GH-Link EMV standard technology

The ARB Apex Bank is the first local bank to issue a domestic card that employs Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV) standards with CHIP and PIN for transactions to facilitate payments on the Gh-Link platform, the Chief Executive Officer of GhIPSS  Achie Hesse has stated.

So far, 25 Automated Teller Machines have been installed across the country by 13 rural banks, and plans are advanced to roll out over 100 ATMs soon.

Apex Bank has deployed a system whereby the ATM Cards are issued to customers instantly. A customer who walks into any banking hall of a rural bank to request a card is expected to receive same within 10mins, and the customer is also given the privilege of selecting a PIN for the card during the process of registration and acquisition.

The platform is connected to the gh-link network, and holders of gh-link cards from other commercial banks can perform transactions on the ATMs; and similarly, RCBs’ card holders can perform transactions on ATMs of other commercial banks which accept e-Zwich cards (Flexi ATM).

The Chief Executive Officer of GhIPSS, Achie Hesse, told Business & Financial Times on the sidelines of the official launch of electronic products for rural banks ‘U Connect’ at Ada recently.

The process will be adopted by all commercial banks beginning this year, and is meant to move Ghana into a universally EMV compliant environment.

(GhIPSS) started the process to migrate all domestic cards from magnetic stripe to Chip & PIN in 2016. This became necessary because of the frequent fraudulent activities on ATMs which have increased. and the need and urgency for card security measures to be implemented so as to eliminate fraud at card-present transactions using the gh-link™ network.

The EMV payment technology is the proven solution against counterfeit card fraud, which is prevalent in a majority of these fraudulent transactions. Chip-based payment cards contain embedded microprocessors that provide strong transaction security features and other application capabilities not possible with traditional magnetic stripe cards.

ARB Apex Bank Limited is facilitating this project to enable Rural and Community Banks become competitive in the digital banking space. The first phase of the project has seen deployment of ATMs for some Rural and Community Banks nationwide.

In addition, platforms for INSTANT Gh-Link card issuance for RCB customers have also been deployed to some RCBs. This card being issued by the RCBs complies with GhIPSS PURE technology, which guarantees greater security and more interoperability and is the first to be issued in Ghana. This initiative provides the RCBs with a unique opportunity to provide their customers with 24hour access to their accounts through alternative channels.

ARB Apex Bank has named this card product U-CASH – which is a proprietary card product for the Rural and Community Banks facilitated by ARB Apex Bank and meant to give customers the convenience of accessing their funds from electronic channels anywhere in Ghana.

The card is the first to take full advantage of the newly-introduced EMV Gh-Link technology and create further convenience and channel options for customers on ATMs nationwide and points of sale devices.

The objective behind this is to provide a proprietary card for customers of the RCBs that enables more convenient access through the Gh-link switching service provided by GhIPSS, to provide customers with cost-effective access to their funds and also position the Rural Banks to be competitive in the drive toward achieving a cash-light economy.

This electronic platform comes with numerous benefits, which include increased float for the bank as customers leave funds in their accounts with the comfort that funds can be accessed at their convenience. Other benefits will be revenue generation on transactional fees, increase in bank’s customer base as an incentive on the CASA Drive, placing the bank strategically for the cashless society agenda, and reducing Queues at the banking halls as well as creating opportunity for loyalty schemes which will enable the banks to create valuable relationships with other parties.

The customers also will benefit from cost-effective access to their accounts, maximum accessibility through the use of a countrywide ATM and POS network, assurance of a secure way of accessing accounts (EMV Chip & PIN), and enjoying additional incentives from schemes that may be run on the card.

By advancing this initiative, ARB Apex Bank Limited is positioning RCBs to empower their customers to actively participate in the digital banking space. The expectation is that the RCBs will leverage this initiative to provide value added solutions to reach a new customer base, increase customer loyalty, as well as contribute significantly to their bottom line.