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Driving digital banking in Ghana

| The European | 18 January 2019

Due to rapid changes in technology over the last two decades, digital evolution has become a necessity for all banks. For Zenith Bank (Ghana) Limited (Zenith) the transition has been seamless. The digitisation of its banking services is ingrained in its DNA, and the bank is way ahead of its regional competitors in this regard. 

Since the bank commenced operations in Ghana over a decade ago, Zenith leveraged its state-of-the-art technology platform to meet the needs of its customers. Through its robust and easy-to-use mobile application, internet banking, ATMs, card offerings, and point-of-sale terminals, the bank has had a significant impact across the country. Zenith has made great progress in areas such as financial inclusion.

Its is no surprise that every year Zenith achieves industry recognition locally and internationally for its revolution of the local and sub-regional banking space. As the winner of the World Finance ”Best Banking Group” four years in a row (2015 to 2018), Zenith Bank is a torchbearer of a new era of banking in West Africa.

Henry Oroh, Zenith Bank Managing Director and CEO, noted in a recent interview that the bank achieves its competitive edge through its commitment to innovation and robust technology, coupled with heavy investment in R&D. This enables the bank to stay at the forefront of the changing financial landscape. “Our operations are driven by a highly robust information technology platform. Evidence of this can be seen in our product and service offerings, which are in line with both global trends and our aim of making banking simpler and more accessible for our customers. “Our dedicated team of IT professionals work tirelessly to develop customised solutions for our customers. The bank’s position as market leader in innovation is a result of delivering new products as well as a reliable service to the local market,” Oroh said.

Driving the cash-lite agenda

As a forward-thinking bank, Zenith has partnered with telecommunication organisations to introduce the Mobile Money Bank2Wallet Service. The service allows mobile phone users to link their traditional bank accounts to their mobile money wallets in order to make payments for goods and services, conduct funds transfers, etc. all on a 24-7 basis.

This opens up access to traditional banking products to the unbanked. “We continue to leverage on mobile phones, the internet and points-of-sale devices to offer faster and more convenient basic financial services to customers while facilitating financial inclusion,” Oroh points out. With the introduction of an interoperability system by the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), bank accounts can be linked to mobile money accounts to enable users to easily transfer funds from one mobile money platform to the other. 

Zenith has also entered into other partnerships with GhIPSS to pioneer products and services, such as the ACH Direct Debit platform, a simple, secure and reliable service that enables organisations of all sizes, as well as individuals, to collect funds from bank accounts. To Mr Oroh, the formalisation of Ghana’s financial sector will increase the use of e-banking products and services, as a large proportion of the public are yet to adapt to electronically effecting transactions.  

Henry Oroh, Managing Director and CEO, Zenith Bank

Z-Mobile: Ahead of its time

When mobile phones first arrived on the scene, Zenith Bank released a product called Z-Mobile. This was before other banks had even thought about the possibilities of mobile banking.

Z-Mobile gave customers access to their bank accounts using the basic handsets available at the time. Since the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, Zenith has relaunched Z-Mobile as a mobile banking app, making the bank one of the first in Ghana to launch a mobile banking app. Z-Mobile, which is simple to use and extremely secure, enables customers to access their accounts and conveniently carry out banking transactions from any part of the world via their smartphones and tablets.

The app allows customers to check their accounts, view their transaction history and top up investments (within Zenith and other investment houses like Databank). It also facilitates a range of other options, such as making instant bank transfers and paying bills – all on the go.

In e-banking, as in other areas, Zenith Bank’s innovations have heralded new milestones, not only for the bank, but for the whole industry. For instance, Zenith GlobalPAY, a secure, web-based collection gateway, enables merchants to accept online card payments in real time from customers worldwide. Merchants on GlobalPAY can receive payments from a variety of locally and internationally issued cards. This product has proved popular, with transactional volumes increasing year-on-year.

The bank also added the Zenith Platinum Prepaid Mastercard, the first of its kind in the Ghanaian banking industry. It allows high-net-worth individuals the opportunity to enjoy various products and services, such as the Zenith Platinum Banking Lounge Key Access – an exclusive service which offers cardholders (Mastercard and Visa card) access to over 900 airport lounges globally. The card is available to Zenith Platinum account holders as well as non-Zenith customers.

In an increasingly digitised world, where data protection is of utmost importance and builds customer confidence in a business, Zenith has taken another major stride in ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. It has implemented Information Security Management System (ISMS) and is therefore compliant with the requirements of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO/IEC 27001:2013), as well as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) certifications.

Zenith remains committed to innovation across the entire portfolio of its products and services, and aims to continue creating value for its customers and shareholders. 

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