Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

INDIVIDUALS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is e-zwich? e-zwich is the brand name for the common platform, the National Switch, that links the payment systems of all licensed banks and non-bank financial institutions e.g. savings and loans companies, credit unions, money transfer institutions, and rural banks in Ghana. What is the e-zwich smartcard? The e-zwich smartcard is a new and very secure way of paying for goods and services throughout the country based on biometric (finger print) identification. e-zwich allows smartcard holders and merchants to load and spend funds as well as settle various transactions. What can I use the e-zwich smartcard for? The card can be used to perform various banking and retail functions. These include cash withdrawals, payments for goods and services, money transfers, receiving salary and wage payments, and making bill payments from any e-zwich Point of Sale (POS) or ATM across the country. Can I pay my utility and other bills using my e-zwich smartcard? Yes. This can be done through the POS or ATM or registered merchants. A few institutions like the electricity and water companies will be automatically set up on the system for your convenience but you can also designate specific third-party payees if you have their relevant bank details to receive your payment. Can I use my e-zwich card on other banks´ ATMs and POS? Yes. Because e-zwich links the payments platforms of all licensed banks, non-bank financial institutions and rural banks, your e-zwich smartcard can be used in other bank´s ATMs (when the ATM integration process is completed later this year) and Points of Sale (POS). Will I be charged for the use of my card? Purchases or payments made by individuals using the e-zwich smartcard will not attract any fees. However, you will be charged a small fee for money transfers, cash withdrawals and some other transactions. Do I need a bank account to have an e-zwich card? No. You can just walk into any bank, rural bank and savings and loans company or their authorized agents and get your card without having to open an account. Your card will act as your bank account. What will be required to get an e-zwich smartcard? You will need a photo ID (e.g. a Student ID card, Voters ID card, Drivers License or Passport) and of course your finger prints. How long does it take to get an e-zwich smartcard? The process itself should take between 5 and 10 minutes. How do I load money onto my e-zwich smartcard? You can load your e-zwich smartcard with funds by paying in cash at any licensed financial institution e.g. bank, rural bank and savings and loans company, money transfer institution or their authorized agents (e.g. Ghana Post). You can also instruct your employer to pay your wages and salary to your card´s unique serial number or receive transfer of funds from other card holders irrespective of which financial institutions issued their cards. Can I load money on my e-zwich smartcard at a retail merchant? Yes, if the merchant is authorized to offer this service. How do I check the balance on my e-zwich smartcard? You can perform a balance enquiry at any e-zwich POS or ATM anywhere in the country. How do I authenticate a transaction? All your e-zwich transactions will be authenticated through your finger prints on the e-zwich ATM or POS. What do I do if my finger print is not recognised? During registration and enrollment, all 10 finger prints are taken. You will be able to use another finger if one is not recognized. What happens when I lose my e-zwich smartcard? If you lose your smartcard you do not lose your money. Your e-zwich card cannot be used by another person because of the finger print authentication requirement. When you report to the financial institution that issued your card or any authorized agent, you will be re-issued with a new card and your balance on the card restored in a maximum of 48 hours. e-zwich will reject any attempt to utilize your old card even by yourself. Can I withdraw money from my bank account using my e-zwich card? Yes, if you choose to link your traditional bank account to your card. Once linked, you have the convenience to perform an online transaction to load or unload money from and to your traditional bank account from any e-zwich POS and ATM across the country. Where can I get an e-zwich card? Can I have more than one card? You can get an e-zwich smartcard from any bank, rural bank or savings and Loans Company or their authorized agents. You can also have as many cards as possible but not from the same bank. Will I be able to use my card in remote areas without electricity and reliable telecommunications network? Yes, this is because the e-zwich POS devices work offline on battery power for long hours and can work in areas without electricity and reliable telecommunications. What type of bank accounts can I have on my e-zwich smartcard? The e-zwich smartcard allows you to have a current account and a savings account in separate wallets on the card. Will I receive interest payment for money on my e-zwich card? Yes, if you keep funds in the savings account. Funds kept in the savings account will attract interest using the rates set by the financial institution that issued your card. What happens to the funds on my e-zwich card if I become deceased? In this case your card is treated as part of your estate and funds can be recovered through the established legal procedures. What is the difference between the e-zwich smartcard and other bank issued cards currently available? Most bank issued cards only work online, requiring an active connection to the bank to complete a transaction. The e-zwich smartcard works both online and offline. This means that it does not require an active connection to a bank to complete a transaction. The e-zwich smartcard uses more secure finger print identification to authenticate transactions and also has a magnetic stripe like the existing bank cards.

MERCHANTS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
As a retailer, how can the e-zwich card be of use to me? The benefits of the e-zwich card include:
  • increased turnover from a growing smartcard client base;
  • reduced cash holdings, banking charges, communications costs, reconciliation problems and minimization of risks associated with fraud,
  • new income streams by providing a comprehensive range of financial services and products in stores (i.e. cash withdrawals, money transfers, bill payments, etc.).
  • How does it work? An e-zwich Point of Sale (POS) device issued by a licensed bank, non-bank financial institution e.g. savings and loans company, credit unions, money transfer institution, or rural bank will have in it a retail merchant card registered to you and linked to your traditional bank account. At the end of day, you will settle all transactions on the POS electronically through e-zwich to your bank account linked to your card. You can then draw on the funds from your bank. How do I transfer money to the bank? The POS device has an e-zwich settlement function on it that would allow you to transfer money to your bank. What other services can I offer on the POS? You can also offer money transfers, online and offline funds load, third party bill payment, card enquiries and cash advance collections. Can I charge for these services? Various fees are charged for services offered to e-zwich client card holders. These are split amongst participants to such transactions including the transaction facilitator or the retail merchant. If the retail merchant also owns the POS device, the proportion of the fee revenue increases. These fee revenues are collected and paid electronically during settlement to the retail merchant´s traditional bank account. How do I receive my sales revenue if I do not have a bank account? You can have your sale transactions settled to another e-zwich client card or any nominated bank account of your choice if you do not have a traditional account. What charges or fees do I incur as a merchant? The main merchant fees are paid for primarily sending the money to the bank electronically, i.e. connectivity charges. Can a merchant have more than one bank´s POS device at its premises? Yes. The merchant can choose which financial institution´s POS to use and how many for each bank, savings and loans company or rural bank. Can e-zwich services be provided in a remote area with poor network connectivity? Yes, the offline capability of the e-zwich smartcard allows it to work in remote areas with limited connectivity. What happens if my POS device is lost, damaged or stolen before I settled the last batch of transactions? Your sales transactions can be reconstructed using the Multiple Audit Trail maintained by the e-zwich or by using your merchant slips from the transactions.
    KfW FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
    What are the objectives of the KfW Facility that is financing the e-zwich infrastructure?

    The Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Limited (GhIPSS), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bank of Ghana tasked to implement a countrywide biometric payment system, popularly known as e- zwich. The system allows the delivery of quality financial services to the people of Ghana, especially the unbanked and the under-banked. The technology permits offline transactions and fingerprint recognition making it highly suitable for rural areas and where formal banking activities are low.

    The strategy of GhlPSS, known as the Rural Branchless Banking Project, is the deployment of a country-wide, e-zwich infrastructure mainly in rural areas, in partnership with financial institutions and through a network of agents and merchants in order to make formal financial services available to all Ghanaians.

    As a strong incentive to support the deployment of e-zwich in rural areas, KfW has signed a loan agreement with the Government of Ghana totaling 7 million Euros. This loan facility will be used to establish a Revolving Credit Fund (RCF) from which loans shall be provided to financial institutions by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) on a revolving basis.

    The loan will enable applicants acquire e-zwich infrastructure for the implementation of the e-zwich Rural Branchless Banking project under the GhIPSS initiative.

    Who is eligible? The KfW facility is available to:
    1. Any bank and deposit-taking financial institution duly licensed by the Bank of Ghana.
    2. Merchant agents working with any of these Financial Institutions.
    What are the minimum requirements or eligibility criteria?
    1. The applicant must be operating or planning to service or operate in rural areas.
    2. The applicant must be willing to dedicate a team in their organization who will be responsible for the promotion of e-zwich products and services, called e-zwich coordinators.
    3. The applicant must set up a dedicated phone number for first-line customer support.
    4. The applicant may have at least 2 dedicated PCs for the enrolment of e-zwich cardholders.
    5. The applicant must promote e-zwich usage in their environment via the promotion materials received from GhIPSS.
    6. The applicant must have an online/internet connection for enrolment and for help desk support.
    What would be financed under this project? The loan is available to finance the e-zwich infrastructure, namely:
    1. POS devices - portable mobile appliance used for processing and tracking payment transactions.
    2. Merchant cards - smart card to perform payment transactions by merchants and agents only.
    3. RESCI kits - kit includes a card reader and a fingerprint scanner used to enroll new clients unto the e-zwich payment platform and issuing them with a smart card.
    4. ATMs - Automated Teller Machines used for cash withdrawals, balance enquiries and money transfers, etc.
    5. Client cards -card used by cardholders for various purposes (identification, banking activities & purchasing at merchant locations, etc.)
    6. PDS kits - this includes a card reader and a fingerprint scanner used to disburse salary/commissions to beneficiaries/cardholders, etc.
    What are the loan terms?
    1. Loan Amount: Minimum GH¢ 10,000; Maximum GH¢ 1,000,000
    2. Duration: 4 years (Grace period of 1 year)
    3. Interest Rate: 6% p.a.
    4. Processing Fee: No fees
    5. Repayment Period: Quarterly
    6. Repayment Amounts: Principal plus Interest.
    Where to apply?
    1. Applicants (financial institutions and their merchants) must send loan applications to GhIPSS.
    2. GhIPSS is located at #23 Seventh Avenue, Ridge West, Accra.
    3. What type of security is required? No collateral is normally required. Loan Application Procedure:
      1. Loan Application Forms and any additional forms are available at GhIPSS offices, located at #23 Seventh Avenue, Ridge West, Accra. The forms may also be downloaded from the internet on www.ghipss.com.
      2. Submitted Applications would be processed at the Business Development Department of GhIPSS. A loan expert would then discuss with you the project in detail and may visit your institution, if necessary.
      3. On the approval of your loan, a Framework On-lending Agreement would be prepared for your signature counter-signed by the Bank of Ghana. The process to access the loan would commence.
      4. During this period you can rely on a professional attitude from our loan experts on all questions related to the servicing of the credit.
      What documents are required to support the loan application?
      1. Registration of the applicant with BoG.
      2. Latest annual reports.
      3. Business plan of the applicant for setting-up the e-zwich infrastructure,including the following:
        1. Business profile of agents and merchants, if necessary.
        2. Areas of operation.
        3. Expected cash turnover and number of transactions (e.g., e-zwich projections), as well as the expected start of the e-zwich operations.
        4. A list of requested devices by type (POS, ATM, merchant cards, client cards, enrolment kits).
      Who can be contacted for further information? Should you have any further questions, please contact the following:
      1. GhIPSS
        Call centre: 0302610800 / 0302610780 / 0299501239; Fax: 0302671757
        Email: info@ghipss.com
      2. Mary Dei Sarpong
        Project Manager, GhIPSS
        Tel: 0244527777 / 0299501231; Fax: 0302 675962
        E-mail: MSarpong@ghipss.com
      3. Guillermo Bosse
        Team Leader, KfW/ AFC
        Tel: 0202261951; Fax: 0302 675962
        E-mail: GBosse@ghipss.com

What is Cheque Codeline Clearing with Cheque Truncation?
  1. Cheque Codeline Clearing with Cheque Truncation is an Electronic Clearing System for cheques being introduced by the Bank of Ghana to replace the existing manual (paper-based) Clearing System.
  2. The current system involves the movement and exchange of physical cheques across banks. The new system is therefore modernising cheque processing using the image and codeline data of the cheque, thereby stopping the physical cheque at the first point of deposit or at some other point en route to the paying bank.
  3. The decision by a bank to "Pay or Not to Pay" a cheque will now be based on the cheque image and codeline data rather than the physical cheque. Since the image is readily available, the process of collection or realization of the cheque is speeded up and all things being equal the customer is given value much faster than would be the case if he had to wait for the physical cheque to reach the paying bank.
  4. The infrastructure supporting the new Cheque Codeline Clearing system will be managed by the Ghana interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Limited(GhIPSS)
Why is there a need for Cheque Codeline Clearing with Cheque Truncation in Ghana?
  1. While cheque usage is on the decline in most developed countries, cheques continue to be a major payment stream in many developing countries including Ghana. In the circumstances, to wish away cheques is simply not possible and hence the decision to improve the efficiency of the cheque clearing process by adopting CCC with CT.
  2. CCC with CT in Ghana is necessary to increase the efficiency and timeliness of the clearing and settlement process for cheques so that customers can have timely access to cheque proceeds.
  3. The new system will eliminate the cost of moving physical cheques.
  4. It will also reduce the scope for clearing related frauds as manual intervention is virtually eliminated.
  5. It is a more secure system than the current exchange of physical documents in which the cheque moves from one point to the other thereby creating delays and inconvenience to the customer.
How does CCC with CT System work? The CCC with CT System works this way:
  1. The collecting bank - the bank at which the cheque is first presented - will scan the physical cheque and capture the image and MICR codeline data. The physical cheque will remain at the collecting bank.
  2. The scanned image of the cheque and the captured MICR codeline data will be transmitted electronically to a Centralised Processing Centre (GhIPSS)
  3. The Centralised Processing Centre (GhIPSS) will transmit all electronic data to the Paying Banks
  4. Returned cheques will be transmitted back to the collecting bank through the Central Processing Centre (GhIPSS) same day.
What precautions should bank customers take to avoid frauds?
  1. Bank customers should issue image friendly cheques. They should preferably use dark coloured ink while writing cheques.
  2. Care should be exercised in the use of rubber stamps, so that it does not interfere with the material portions of the cheque, which are; the date of the cheque, payee´s name, amount and signature.
  3. The use of rubber stamps, etc should not overshadow the clear appearance of these basic features in the image. This is to ensure that all essential elements of a cheque are captured in an image during the scanning process.
If the customer wants to see the paper cheques for any reason, what are the options available to the customer?
  1. The physical instruments are required to be stored for a statutory period. It would be obligatory for presenting banks to warehouse the physical instruments for that statutory period.
  2. In case a customer desires to get a paper instrument back, the instrument can be sourced from the presenting bank through the drawee bank.

For more information on the products and services of GhIPSS, contact us here »

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