Funds transfer and electronic payment in Ghana is expected to be enhanced soon when the Retail Payment Systems Infrastructure project takes off.
Interoperability from a financial perspective involves the ability of a computer system to run application programs from different vendors and to interact with other computers across local or wide-area networks regardless of their physical architecture and operating systems.
Sibton Switch Systems Limited (SSSL); a wholly Ghanaian owned company has been licenced by the Bank of Ghana to implement and manage the retail payment systems infrastructure for the entire ecosystem of which interoperable is a function to be performed by the company for banks and non-bank financial institutions in Ghana.
The SSSL has been authorised by the Central Bank of Ghana to begin work on transactional interoperability across the retail space.
SSSL will initially be required to provide this service to the mobile money markets by helping them to be more convenient, secure and swift, the use of a mobile phone in order to transfer funds between banks or accounts, deposit or withdraw funds or pay bills.
SSSLâ€™s Ms. Keiko Watanabe indicated: â€śthe company has been working and readying itself to begin the Systems platform interoperability together with our partners at Sibton Communications here in Ghana and even more importantly with our valued global clients like those in East Africa, Middle East, Europe and other parts of the world where there has been success storiesâ€ť.
â€śWe are also looking into the broader realm of electronic commerce; thus the use of a mobile device to purchase items, whether physical or electronic, at least locally to begin with in Ghana, but we are always thinking global here, always.â€ť Ms. Watanabe says.
What Sibton Switch Systems intends to do
The Bank of Ghana before giving the company the nod ensured all the necessary financial and banking compliance were adhered to as stipulated by Ghanaian and international laws. The source also revealed that the company has gone ahead to engage financial, none financial institutions, merchant and aggregators about the process of partnering with them on interoperability as facilitated by the regulator.
SSSL says the system they are introducing into Ghana is a flagship brand and first of its kind in the Africa region although it is available in places like Asia, the US, the Middle East and the UK. The system will enables retail transfers to over 90 partner banks in 6000 locations worldwide.
Since the platform does not use SWIFT protocol through correspondents, it significantly brings down costs which translate into a more affordable solution for the potential customer. The company said its objective is to mainly provide an alternative at a cutting edge to enhance competition and increase customer satisfaction.
What makes SSSL an option for Ghanaâ€™s markets
What makes SSSL different innovation of interoperability as far as the Ghana mobile money market matters is the enormous social benefits of financial inclusion from grass roots level and job creation. The new services would also help improve fraud management. The detection and prevention of transaction fraud in a payment would be best managed centrally and per the laws of Ghana governing the financial sector.
â€śAll transaction conducted by participants within the scheme must go through the switch to ensure security compliance. As regulators, the central Bank, as part of its functions, would be provided with the ability to monitor all transactions, we have been contracted to fulfil that requirement based on our expertise in the industryâ€ť .
How different will the interoperability platform be from already existing systems in Ghana?
The new system will allow the banks to launch a retail remittance service without heavy investments in capital infrastructure, software development, human resource and processes, AML adherence and customer support.
The Ghana money market and mobile money
Interoperability is the way right now, which is why Sibton Switch is excited about the opportunity to help the country embraces it as a global trend to begin an improved access and networks effects, increase market competition and allow the benefits to be seen in service quality. â€śThis is just the beginning, we are looking forward to seeing other firms like us emerge as well, all for the benefit of the countryâ€ť, Ms Watanabe said.
The growth of mobile money markets globally means more work and research is needed for this rapidly growing and ever-changing area of Ghanaâ€™s economy. Another important role of the company is to ensure that complexities are removed as a result of which there will be growth so the client and customers are not supposed to go through the frustration of dealing with inconvenience in transactions.
The company believes all must enjoy the utmost benefit of digital funds in real-time. For example, there is a shared fraud management per industry recommendation internationally that will be replicated in deploying the switch by Sibton. The infrastructure by Sibton will be able to detect and prevent transaction fraud during payment transfers because the system is developed to identify and avert such transactions which is best managed centrally by the switch for it participant. Thus all transaction conducted by participants must go through the switch to ensure security compliance.
Global Standards require that most payment systems require all transactions to flow through a switch, this type of transaction is called as an â€śon usâ€ť transaction. In Ghanaâ€™s case, sender and recipient revenue goes to the one provider and the switch fee remains.
The Bank of Ghana, as part of its regulatory function, will monitor all transactions to enable evaluations of participants in the industry. To ensure policy makers have adequate data and insight on the actuals of transactions that are processed with the industry, Sibton Switch is deploying the most advance infrastructure that meets internationals standards since it will also work with other international certifications and licensing bodies. The Switch will deploy nothing less than quality, efficiency and longevity.
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