The use of the biometric smart card, e-zwich, experienced exponential growth last year after series of mechanisms were put in place to drive usage, reaching 5.3 million transactions in 2016.
The volume of transactions within the period recorded an impressive growth of 138.3% over the performance in 2015, according to a performance report released by the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Ltd (GhIPSS).
Patronage went up from 2.2 million to 5.3 million transactions by 2016.
The growth in e-zwich patronage last year follows an equally impressive growth of 260 % in 2015, compared to the figure recorded in 2014.
According to officials, this impressive growth stems from a number of policy decisions and initiatives including the use of the platform to pay beneficiaries of the various government social intervention programmes.
The growth in the value of e-zwich transactions was even higher; up by 156 % from about 922 million Ghana cedis to over 2.3 billion Ghana cedis in 2016, making e-zwich the fastest growing initiative by GhIPSS in terms of volume and value.
The report also indicates that, cash withdrawals recorded the highest growth among the e-zwich transactions going up by 182% from 900,000 cedis in 2015, to 2.6 million cedis in 2016.
Last year, it became possible for e-zwich card holders to receive international remittances directly onto their cards from any Unity Link Remittance agents in Europe. Over 7,000 of such transactions took place in the second half of last year after it was introduced.
The international remittance to e-zwich card service, is expected to be extended to other remittance companies this year as officials at GhIPSS say a number of companies are working to complete the process and also get connected to the platform.
GhIPSS, late last year also started another initiative to allow individuals and enterprises offer e-zwich services making the service more prevalent and accessible than in previous times when it was restricted to banks and savings and loans companies only.
Speaking in an interview, the Chief Executive Officer of GhIPSS, Archie Hesse, was optimistic that the growth in e-zwich patronage will continue to surge. He explained that the uniqueness of the service makes it suitable for most organisations.
The e-zwich payment system was introduced a decade ago as part of efforts to modernize the country’s payment system, and migrate Ghana onto an electronic community running a cash-lite society.