ACCRA, Companies and organizations in Ghana are being encouraged to reduce their use of cheques and to use the Automated Clearing House (ACH) for payments in the New Year.

Archie Hesse, the Chief Executive of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) said in a statement here Thursday that the move to drive greater usage of the ACH was in line with the global trend towards the use of technology to achieve efficiency.

He said the use of cheques by organizations had been a long-held tradition because they were perceived as a more formal way of making payments. However, the use of cheques, especially for bulk payments, is cumbersome and inefficient, costs more, and consumes a lot of time which can be profitably used for core activities.

The use of cheques also exposes firms to cloning and sometimes difficulty in tracking cheques which have been issued, whereas ACH is electronic, quicker, safer and easier to trace, he added.

The ACH comes in two main forms — Direct Credit and Direct Debit — and an ACH transaction takes about 24 hours or a couple of hours in the case of express service.

The statement explained that unlike cheques, which must be individually issued to each recipient, ACH payments can be batched in large volumes and sent electronically at once to several recipients. ACH patronage has been rising steadily since its introduction, recording over 3.3 million transactions in the first half of 2017, representing close to 48 per cent of clearing house transactions,” it noted.

However, many of the ACH transactions are for lower values, accounting for less than 20 per cent of clearing house transactions in value terms, the statement noted.