GH-Link EMV standard technology; ARB Apex Bank leads the way

The ARB Apex Bank is the first local bank to issue a domestic card which employs Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV) standards with CHIP and PIN for transactions to facilitate payments on the Gh-Link platform, the Chief Executive Officer of GhIPSS  Achie Hesse  has stated.

So far, twenty-five (25) Automated Teller Machines have been installed across the country by 13 rural banks and plans are advanced to roll out over 100 ATMs soon.


Apex Bank has deployed a system where the ATM Cards are issued to customers instantly. A customer who walks to any banking hall of a rural bank to request a card is expected to receive same within 10mins and the customer is also given the privilege of selecting the PIN for the card during the process of registration and acquisition.


The platform is connected to the gh-link network and holders of gh-link cards from other commercial banks can perform transactions on the ATMs and similarly, RCBs card holders can perform transactions on ATMs of other commercial banks which accept e-Zwich cards (Flexi ATM).


The Chief Executive Officer of GhIPSS Achie Hesse told Business & Financial Times on the sidelines at the official launch of electronic products for rural banks . “U Connect” at Ada recently.


The process which will be adopted by all commercial banks beginning this year is to move Ghana into a universally EMV compliant environment.


(GhIPSS) started the process to migrate all domestic cards from magnetic stripe to Chip & PIN in 2016. This became necessary because of the frequency of fraudulent activities on ATMs that have heightened and the need and urgency for card security measures to be implemented to eliminate fraud at card present transactions using the gh-link™ network.


The EMV payment technology is the proven solution against counterfeit card fraud, which is prevalent in a majority of these fraudulent transactions. Chip-based payment cards contain embedded microprocessors that provide strong transaction security features and other application capabilities not possible with traditional magnetic stripe cards.


ARB Apex Bank Limited is facilitating this project to enable the Rural and Community banks become competitive in the digital banking space. The first phase of the project has seen deployment of ATMs for some Rural and Community Banks nationwide.


In addition platforms for INSTANT Gh-Link card issuance for RCB customers have also been deployed to some RCBs. This card being issued by the RCBs complies with GhIPSS PURE technology which guarantees greater security and more interoperability and the first to be issued in Ghana. This initiative provides the RCBs with a unique opportunity to provide their customers with 24hour access to their accounts through alternative channels.


ARB Apex Bank has named this card product U-CASH which is a proprietary card product for the Rural and Community Banks facilitated by ARB Apex Bank that is meant to give customers the convenience to access their funds from electronic channels anywhere in Ghana.


The card is the first to take full advantage of the newly introduced EMV Gh-Link technology and create further convenience and channel options for customers on and ATMs nationwide  and point of sale.


The objective behind this is to provide a proprietary card for customers of the RCBs to enable more convenient access through the Gh-link switching service provided by GhIPSS, to provide customers with a cost effective access to their funds and to position the Rural Banks to be competitive in the drive towards achieving a cash-light economy.


This electronic platform comes numerous benefits which include, increase float for the bank as customers leave funds in their accounts with the comfort that funds can be accessed at their convenience. Other benefits will be revenue generation on transactional fees, increase in bank’s customer base as an incentive on the CASA Drive, placing the bank strategically for the cashless society agenda and reducing the cues at the banking halls as well as creating opportunity for loyalty schemes which will enable the banks to create valuable relationships with other parties.


The customer also will benefit from cost effective access to their account, maximum accessibility through the use of country-wide ATM and POS network, assured of secure way of accessing accounts (EMV Chip & PIN) and enjoying additional incentives from schemes that may be run on the card.


By advancing this initiative ARB Apex Bank Limited is positioning the RCBs to empower their customers to actively participate in the digital banking space. The expectation is that the RCBs will leverage this initiative to provide value added solution to reach new customer base, increase customer loyalty as well contribute significantly to their bottom line.