The public has been urged to resort more to electronic forms of payment in order to reduce their exposure to armed robbery and related risks.
The Chief Executive of Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (GhIPSS), Archie Hesse, gave the advice following reports of two separate armed robbery attacks in two successive days and other instances, in which huge sums of cash were believed to have been stolen.
Mr Hesse who expressed his sadness about the incidence extended his sympathies to the victims of the robberies, but added that it was time robbery was made less attractive by reducing cash transactions.
He explained that several electronic payment channels exist in Ghana that can enable both organisations and individuals to make payments without using cash.
The GhIPSS boss pleaded with the public to turn to these non-cash forms of payments and reduce the tendencies to carry huge sums of money around.
Many people have lost money through robbery, fire, flood and other disasters because of preference for cash. Such losses, Mr. Hesse explained could be avoided if people kept their monies at the bank and accessed them through electronic payment channels to pay for transactions. “Today, your money at the bank is as good as cash on you” he stressed. He added that the motivation for such barbaric attacks will be reduced if people went about with less or no cash on them.
Mr. Hesse advised organisations to use payment options such as cheques, Automated Clearing House (ACH) Direct Debit or Direct Credit, internet and mobile banking to receive or make payments. He added that in situations where the organisation wants the money instantly transferred, they can set up and use the e-bills pay or mobile money for smaller values. He also advised individuals to use the various electronic payments options such as electronic cards, mobile money, the Instant Pay service, or ACH in order to reduce the amount of cash they have to carry or keep in their homes.
The GhIPSS CEO noted that cheques can be cleared the same day, through the express service and was, therefore, another important non-cash form of payment for both organisations and individuals. “There are variety of electronic payments channels working efficiently in Ghana that organisations and individuals can access through the financial institutions” he emphasised.
Mr. Hesse said GhIPSS will continue to ensure the efficient running of the platforms supporting these electronic payments options and urged the banks to ensure that these services are offered seamlessly to boost public confidence in them. “Technology is an enabler, it is there to solve problems, so let use it to address our exposure to robberies” he stated.
Mr. Hesse hinted that GhIPSS together with financial institutions will heighten the cash-lite campaign and invited the media to support the agenda by creating platforms to educate the public on the benefits of electronic payments and dangers and cost associated with carry cash. He advised the public to speak to their banks and access the plethora of non-cash forms of payments available currently.