Customers urged to demand local ATM cards from banks

Business News of Tuesday, 20 January 2015


Credit Cards

The Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems, GHIPSS is impressing on bank customers, to demand local ATM cards from their banks for their transactions in the country.

A Local ATM card, (also known as a Proprietary card) refers to a bank’s card issued for only local transactions. It attracts a lower fee compared to international network cards like Visa and Master-Card.

The launch of the GH-Link platform over a year ago has made interbank ATM transactions possible: it is now possible for bank customers to use their cards on any ATM in the country whether it’s their bank’s or another’s.

GHIPSS CEO, Archie Hesse explains, the lower transaction cost among other reasons make it expedient for customers (except those travelling outside the country) to demand local cards from their banks.

“How much do we charge for local transactions? It was 40p and from 1st of January, we changed it to GHC 1. If you withdraw cash from another bank’s ATM using your VISA card, Ecobank for instance is charging GHC 5 whilse others are charging GHC 4 and so on. What’s more, once upon a time, the Point of Sale devices in the country were accepting only E-zwich cards.

“Now we have the hybrid Point of Sale device which accepts both E-zwich and local cards but not VISA and Master Cards currently but we are working with them to enable foreigners use their foreign cards in Ghana,” he said.

Commercial banks also stand to benefit from the use of local ATM cards for transactions in the country, he said.

“How much are VISA and Master cards charging the banks? Every 3 months, VISA would charge the customer whether or not he used the card but the local card doesn’t charge. When it comes to settlement, VISA is settled in local currency but not against Central Bank funds but against commercial bank funds. If you are using your local card, it will be settled against Central Bank funds and when it comes to charge-back, everything is also within Ghana,” he added.