Is Ezwich stealing from the Cashless Society? Greed vs Pain

The ezwich system which is supposed to make life easier for us is causing more pain by ‘draining’ our accounts more than necessary. Ezwich is the brand name for the National Switch and Smart-card payment system and this system offers Deposit taking financial institutions (universal banks, rural banks and Saving & Loans) a platform that enables them to interoperate, obviously at the expense of the customers or users of the ezwich. The National Service Personnel
are perfect examples of such users or victims.
This card is supposed to secure our monies against robbers and bring some level of convenience to the users but is rather robbing users gradually.
In a personal experience, I paid exorbitantly on the transactions I made in a single day. Let me walk you through my experience.
On Monday 4th June, 2012, I made an ‘Offline Balance Enquiry’ at the ATM (Merchant REF. NO. 5496) and was charged 0.10p, obviously a very small amount. I went further to withdraw GHS 20.00 and was charged a fee of 0.20p. (Accumulated Fee: 0.30p) That is cool too.
After those transactions, I made an ‘Online Auto Load’ (this involves loading salaries or allowances or monies paid in to the account on to the card) and I was charged 0.50p.That makes an accumulated fee of 0.80pso far. The machine indicated on the slip, ‘’Transaction Successful, We Serve You Better’’. Hmm, let’s go on.  I then decided to send money to my little brother and this was an ‘Online Card2Card’ transaction. This was where the magic started. I was charged GHS 1.00 which was indicated as FEE (S) = 0.50p and FEE (R) = 0.50p (Accumulated Fee so far = GHS 1.80). Only God knows what those represent. I assume they represent, ‘Fee for Sending’ and ‘Fee for Receiving’. I know my brother would pay a fee to withdraw this money from his card.  Absurdly, the machine indicated again, ‘’Transaction Successful, We Serve You Better’’. No problem, let’s go on.
Since I have more cash on my card from the ‘Online Auto Load’ transaction I made earlier, I decided to withdraw an extra GHS 230.00. You can’t believe this, I was charged GHS 1.15for that ‘Offline Cash Withdrawal.’ This withdrawal was my 18thtransaction since I reluctantly joined the ezwich system, so you can imagine how much I have paid as transaction cost. The fee charged on the cash withdrawal makes the total fee charged for the day, GHS 2.95.
When 10,000 people do this transaction or something similar, ezwich would accumulate an amount GHS 29,500 from transactional cost for that day. And when this happens at least once a week in the year, the figure would jump to GHS 1,534,000. This is exorbitant and it’s surprising that the low income earners like the National Service Personnel face these charges.
The Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (GhIPSS) ltd (subsidiary of Bank of Ghana) which established and operates the ezwich system should do something about these expensive transactional charges.
These charges cause so much pain to people and create a bad name for the smart-card system. Many people I know vowed never to use this card as soon as they finish their National Service. Others say it is a useless smart-card system. Few of us that see the usefulness of this ezwich system think we are being robbed despite our meager incomes. It’s Pathetic. The inconsistency in the charges is unacceptable. This should be called E-WITCH instead of ezwich, so that we all know we are being hunted.

3 thoughts on “Is Ezwich stealing from the Cashless Society? Greed vs Pain

  1. You know I use to use the ezwich until about a month ago. I realised i was a better manager of my finances than to put it on a debit card when the banks themselves a reluctant to serve you. The last straw was when they closed down their machine at Barnes Road.

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