The Bank of Ghana (BOG) has set up a nine-member Payments Systems Council (PSC) under its Payments Systems Department to help drive the development of efficient and safe electronic payment systems for Ghana’s financial sector.

The council, an advisory body composed of stakeholders from the payments systems sector, will provide information and advice to the central bank in its effort to promote an effective and secure payments system.

Dr Johnson Asiama, the Second Deputy Governor of the BOG, who inaugurated the Council on behalf of the Governor here Tuesday, said Ghana had made strides in the development of payment systems in the past decade, including the development of the Ezwich payment system, and the Automated Clearing House for direct and debit credit funds transfer.

These had resulted in increased international confidence in Ghana’s payments systems, noted Asiama, who said the inauguration of the PSC was another milestone in the central bank’s efforts to create a payments environment which is inclusive and which meets international standards.

Credit cards issued in Ghana, which were formerly not accepted for international transactions, are now being accepted in Europe and the United States, among other places, he said. A number of banks are also now issuing credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard on account of renewed confidence in payments systems, he said.

Dr Asiama said the BOG, in collaboration with the banking industry, was in the process of migrating all payment cards from the magnetic strips standards to the Europay, MasterCard, and Visa/ENV chip and pin standard to enhance security and reduce fraud in the industry.

Dr Settor Amediku, the Head of the Payment Systems Department of the Bank of Ghana, said the council would work under the Bank with a secretariat in the Payment Systems Department. It would be assisted by four thematic working groups covering Standards; Automation and Technology; Operations; and Pricing and Legal.

Stakeholders represented in the PSC are the Ministry of Finance, Ghana Revenue Authority, Controller and Accountant-General’s Department, State Enterprises Commission, Chamber of Telecommunications, Ghana Association of Bankers, National Insurance Commission, National Communications Authority and the National Pensions Regulatory Authority.