The national electronic payment system, e-zwich, has moved to another phase with a roll out of its services to cover rural banks, Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems, (GhIPSS) has said in Accra Saturday December 13, 2008.
Since the launch of the project earlier this year, only the universal banks have been hooked to the platform but now the service has been extended to eight rural banks in the Ashanti, Central and Greater Accra regions.
The rural bank phase of the e-zwich roll out, which is being done by GhIPSS, in conjunction with the ARB Apex Bank, began on pilot basis with the Manya Krobo and Union Rural banks in the Eastern and Central regions respectively.
After successful completion of the pilot project, it is now been extended to cover six other rural banks, Nwabiagya, Sekyere Odotobri, Adansi, Atwima Kwanwoma and Amansie West rural banks in the Ashanti region.
Four other rural banks, Dangme, Ga, La Community and Abokobi in the Greater Accra region would be connected to the e-zwich platform.
Each of the rural banks has two of their branches also connected to the electronic platform.
The extension of the service will enable people in those areas to also enjoy the benefit of the e-zwich experience.
Mr. Archie Hesse, General Manger of GhIPSS in charge of Project and Business Development, told GNA that the roll out of the e-zwich services was being targeted at communities with vibrant economic activities including cocoa farming, and commerce.
He said plans were advanced to begin paying cocoa farmers in particular through e-zwich cards.
Mr Archie said when the four rural banks from the Greater Accra were fully connected, GhIPSS would move from one region to the other to ensure that as many rural banks as possible were connected to the e-zwich.
He said officials of the rural banks have been trained in order to issue the smart cards to their customers.
Mr Archie said that the rural banks will also have point of sales (POS) devices at their branches to enable customers to load money onto their cards, withdraw money from them as well as transfer money from the card to other people who also have the e-zwich card.