VISA International and Standard Chartered Bank Ghana launched the first domestic Visa card program in the West African country and the first public use of Visa Horizon, a chip-based, pre-authorized, offline payment card. The program marks the first large scale roll out of Visa Horizon with up to 100,000 offline domestic debit cards being issued and over 300 merchant sign-ups over the next five years. It is also the largest planned implementation of chip payment technology in West Africa and an example of how chip cards can be used to overcome traditional telecommunication weaknesses in new growth markets.
The launch of the new payment card by Standard Chartered Bank is being accompanied by a nationwide media campaign with adverts appearing in press, TV and radio. Standard Chartered Bank is also launching cardholder and merchant promotions to encourage usage and acceptance. The initial roll out takes place in the capital city, Accra, with the planned roll out and promotions expanding to other major Ghanaian cities — Takoradi and Kumasi — in the near future. Gaylon Howe, senior vice president, Visa Consumer Products, said: “This announcement represents a significant milestone for several reasons. Standard Chartered Bank Ghana has become the first Visa member to issue cards and acquire merchants in Ghana. It is also taking the lead in launching Visa’s newest chip card product that is targeted at new bank customers and intended to establish a long-term account relationship with them. We look forward to continuing to work with Standard Chartered Bank in this joint leadership effort, using innovative, state-of-the-art chip technology to help overcome infrastructure weaknesses that have held back the introduction of payment cards in emerging markets.”
Joseph Abraham, CEO, Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Limited said: “The launch of Standard Chartered Visa Horizon Debit Card is another demonstration of SCB’s commitment to using the latest technology to provide our customers with world class bank services. This will further cement our leadership position as the most innovative bank in Ghana”.
Standard Chartered Visa Horizon benefits the cardholder by reducing the need to carry cash. In Ghana, where bulky notes have to be carried around to buy goods and services, this represents a significant benefit. Furthermore, the risk of losing cash is reduced since funds on the card are safe even if the card is lost. Acceptance locations (shops, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, etc.) are guaranteed payment for all transactions completed with the card and risk of pilferage is eliminated. It is the most convenient payment mechanism since no telephone authorisation is required when the card is used.
Chip technology used on the Visa Horizon card enables payment information to be stored and processed in a secure and efficient manner. Customers open a debit or credit account with a bank and request a pre-authorised amount of purchasing power. This pre-authorised spending power is stored in the chip on the customer’s PIN-protected card. Once the pre-authorised amount has been established, the bank’s system automatically sets up an account where the pre-authorised funds are stored. Funds are deducted from the account when the customer’s cash and purchase transactions have cleared the system. As customers use their card to make purchases or withdraw cash, they can also continually replenish the spending power on their card up to the available balance in their bank account. The Visa Horizon card brings added convenience to many Ghanaians who have not used card products in the past.
About Standard Chartered Bank
As a major international bank, Standard Chartered focuses its activities on Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. By combining regional strengths with a global network, Standard Chartered aims to be the bank of choice and the leading international bank in emerging markets. Its objectives are to provide innovative products, supported by quality delivery systems and excellent customer service; to train and motivate staff, to exercise community responsibility, to achieve sustained earnings growth, and to continue to enhance shareholder value.
About Visa International
As the “World’s Best Way to Pay,” Visa is the leading payment brand and the largest consumer payment system worldwide with more volume than all other payment cards combined. Visa plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa has more than 80 smart card programs in 35 countries and on the Internet, with 23 million Visa chip cards, including over eight million Visa Cash cards. Visa is pioneering SET Secure Electronic Transaction(tm) programs to enable and advance Internet commerce. There are more than one billion Visa, Visa Electron, Visa Cash, Interlink and PLUS cards in the market. Visa-branded cards generate over US$1.6 trillion in annual volume and are accepted at over 19 million worldwide locations, including at more than 627,000 ATMs in the Visa Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is .