GhIPSS urges use of Direct Debit services at banks

The public is being encouraged to ask for Direct Debit services from their banks or service providers and use it for frequent payments. 

This is to enable them to enjoy the convenience that comes with it while taking away the stress of going to make such payment on every single due date.

Chief Executive of Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), Archie Hesse, gave the advice as part of efforts to drive patronage for electronic payment options, which are more efficient.

“The obvious advantage of Direct Debit is that it allows utility bills, subscriptions and any other forms of regularly payments to be made timely,” Mr Hesse said in an interview with the media. 

The Automated Clearing House (ACH) Direct Debit is offered by banks and it is an electronic form of payment that customers can use to pay mortgage, utility bills, and various forms of fixed subscriptions such as for gyms, magazines, pay-TV, and association membership dues among others.

The customer only needs to fill a Direct Debit form that will authorise the companies or institutions they need to make these regular payments to collect the stated amount from their bank accounts on specific dates.

Mr Hesse said using Direct Debit was safe, convenient and cost-effective as it takes away the hassle of having to make such payments every time they were due.

Although Direct Debit appears similar to Standing Orders, the former can be used for the payment of both fixed and variable amounts.

Additionally, the electronic nature of Direct Debit allows for immediate refunds from the bank in the event of an incorrect payment.

Close to 900,000 Direct Debit transactions took place last year, representing a growth of about 26 percent over the previous year.

However, the value of the transactions during the same period stood at GHC127 million, which is a growth of almost 80 percent, according to the GhIPSS 2016 Performance Report.

 Mr Hesse said GhIPSS and the banks wanted to see significant growth in the use of this payment option because of the obvious benefits.

The two institutions have therefore decided to intensify awareness about it through a series of activities this year.

Mr. Hesse said though GhIPSS and the banks would drive the Direct Debit agenda, various service providers should also join by informing their customers about this payment option.

“When customers default in paying bills or subscriptions, the service providers or organisations suffer, so if they encourage customers to use Direct Debit, they would be happier for it,” Mr. Hesse explained.

The GhIPSS Boss said Direct Debit benefits both the service provider and the customer, giving it a strong case to drive its usage in Ghana, just as it pertains in developed economies.

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