About 18 of banks in Ghana are now able to offer the Instant Pay (GIP) service to their customers, which is double the number that could do so in August this year.

This implies that more customers can send money from their bank account to the account of the recipient instantly. This payment service compares favourably to a cheque or Automated Clearing House (ACH) which may take two days to clear or some hours in the case of express service.

The Instant Pay is another payment system introduced by the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), which enables an individual or organisation to transfer funds from one account to the other and the transfer will be effected instantly. Set up by the Bank of Ghana, GhIPSS has a mandate to promote electronic payments in Ghana.

The Instant Pay is currently the preferred electronic form of payment globally with most of the advanced countries using the payment system for multiple banking services.

Although the main intent of the service is instant interbank transfers, the underlying infrastructure enables banks to launch game-changing products and services that provide real customer value and position the banks at the centre of the payment process, the Chief Executive of GhIPSS, Archie Hesse stated in an interview.

Mr. Hesse said that banks could use their ingenuity to weave several services around the Instant Pay, explaining that the services that it could be used to engineer are many. He hinted that some financial institutions were already in the process of developing new services facilitated by the Instant Pay.

Banks had to interface their system with GhIPSS to provide the service and that took some time for some of the institutions. But with most of the bigger banks now fully hooked on, Mr. Hesse anticipates that Instant Pay will be the order of the day in 2017.

Currently, banks are facing stiff competition from telcos offering mobile money services, however, analysts say the Instant Pay, which also offers real-time transfers and could be done through a mobile phone or a computer could be the game changer for the banks.

The GhIPSS CEO commended the banks for coming on board and said his institution will work closely with them to embark on public education. He, however, encouraged the banks to identify the numerous opportunities inherent in the payment system and exploit them to their benefit and that of their customers.

Mr. Hesse also urged the public to freely enquire about the service from their bankers. He, however, added that the doors of GhIPSS were opened to anyone or institution who want learn more about it.