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E-zwich cardholders reach 2.3m in 2017, value hits GH¢3.4b


The number of persons using the biometric smart card e-zwich witnessed a significant increase over the past one year, according to data released by the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlements System covering operations from 2016 to 2017.   
Break down of numbers
The number of e-zwich cardholders of 2,364,456 in December 2017 showed an increase of 25.90% over 2016 position of 1,878,044.
Total volume of e-zwich transactions increased by 55.95%; from 5,365,085 in 2016 to 8,367,017 in 2017. Similarly, total value of transactions in 2017 grew by 45.22% to GH¢3,431.49million.
The e-zwich International Remittance Platform allows z-wich cardholders in Ghana to receive money directly unto their e-zwich cards or bank accounts from abroad.
In 2017 international remittances received via e-zwich recorded significant growth of 311.44% in volume and 397.61% in value compared to 2016. The total amount on cards (Float) was GH¢74.43 million in December 2017 showing an increase of 38.94% over same period 2016.
The volume of PDS payments (Payment Distribution System) in 2017 was 2.9 million representing an increase of 37% over the same period in 2016. Value of PDS payments in the same period was GH¢940.95 million also representing an increase of 39% over the same period in 2016.
A total number of thirty-nine (39) organizations which consist of twenty-five (25) private organizations and fourteen (14) government institutions use the PDS to disburse loans, salaries, wages and pensions. 
This method of payment is convenience, speed and reduces the risk of fraud and loss of monies associated with withdrawal of huge sums of money for distribution to the employees or beneficiaries.
The increasing trend in e-zwich transactions since 2015 could be attributed to government’s use of the system to pay caterers of national school feeding programme, beneficiaries of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), Youth Employment Agency (YEA), Nurses and Teacher Trainees allowances, Students Loans Trust Fund and personnel of the National Service Scheme as means of ensuring efficiency in payments and eliminate waste in its expenditure.
E-Zwich ‘cash withdrawal’ involves the reduction of the electronic value stored on an e-zwich card in exchange for cash. This transaction is performed at e-zwich / hybrid POS or ATM.
The annual volumes and values of E-zwich withdrawals exceed other e-zwich products and services such as purchases, deposits and money transfers.
The trend suggests that cardholders prefer withdrawing cash from ATMs and POS terminals to pay for goods and services instead of using the system to transfer monetary value to merchants and beneficiaries to discharge a financial obligation.
The cardholders’ preference for cash could be attributed to inadequate POS terminals or merchant e-zwich point of sales and lack of awareness of other e-zwich payment products/options. 
How the E-zwich works
E-zwich is an interoperable biometric smart card payment system which offers a suite of electronic payment and banking services accessible from a Point of Sales (POS) terminals and an ATM.
These services include payments at merchants’ point of sale (purchases) withdrawal of cash, deposit onto the card and transfer of funds.
The e-zwich system also facilitates the distribution of payments such as loans, salaries, wages and pensions.

Source: Ghana| JoyBusiness

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