Nine banks interconnect their local ATMs

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Accra , Oct. 17, GNA – Nine banks have reconfigured their systems and are now able to accept each other’s Automated Teller Machines (ATM) cards, providing their various customers convenience and easy access to their funds.

     The banks include major financial institutions such as Ghana Commercial Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Agriculture Development Bank and Zenith Bank.

    Others are HFC Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), UT Bank, Prudential Bank and the Bank of Africa.

     This means that customers of these banks can access their bank account and make withdrawals from the ATMs of any of the nine banks.

     In an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Wednesday, Mr Archie Hesse, the Chief Executive Officer of GhIPSS said the nine banks are now connected, adding that, transactions monitored showed that some members of the public were already enjoying the service.   

     “We notice that the take up has been rising and it is obvious that the public is on board,” Mr Hesse said.

     He said until now, only customers of banks which issued Visa branded cards could enjoy that service.

     The CEO of GhIPSS explained that the gh-link will be officially launched by the middle of next month with the number of banks that will be ready by that date.

     He explained that the other banks which may not be ready by the launch date would be subsequently added.

     The interbank ATM switching is the first phase of a series of new services to be launched on the gh-link.

     Mr Hesse said after the ATMs were linked, the next phase would be to enable the local ATM cards to be used in Point of Sale (POS) device, so that bank customers can shop with their normal ATM cards.

    Four other banks, Ecobank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Unibank and new entrant Energy Bank are close to completing the process.

     The interoperability of the local ATMs of these banks marks the realization of a long held dream which remained on the drawing board until the Bank of Ghana established Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) some five years ago, Mr Hesse said.

    GhIPSS has led the reform of the payment systems, acquired the National Electronic Platform christened gh-link, to enable all banks to interconnect to ensure that Ghana moved away from the era when customers had to travel long distances to access their money from the ATM.

     It is expected that soon, all ATMs hooked to the National Platform would carry the gh-link label and logo to indicate the readiness of such ATM outlets to accept the local or proprietary cards. This will happen before the service is officially launched.

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