Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in Nigeria has today commenced the implementation of a new charge of N6.98 per USSD transaction, replacing the defunct N4.89 billing structure.
According to findings by naijabusiness.com.ng, customers who wanted to effect transactions through the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) today received a short notice informing them of the recent change. The message read thus: ‘’Welcome to USSD Banking. Please note, a N6.98 network charge will be applied to your account for banking services on this channel.”
Recall that in March, DMBs had reached a definite agreement with telecommunications firms to implement the new charge. The agreement is sequel to an initial dispute between both parties over accumulated debts.
Confirming the agreement, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Communications Commission had jointly praised the efforts of both parties, noting that the introduction of the new USSD charges will promote transparency. A joint statement issued by both CBN and NCC read thus: ‘’ We are pleased to announce that after comprehensive deliberations on the key issues, a resolution framework acceptable to all parties was agreed thus:
“Effective March 16, 2021, USSD services for financial transactions conducted at DMBs (Deposit Money Banks) and all CBN-licensed institutions will be charged at a flat fee of N6.98 per transaction. This replaces the current per session billing structure, ensuring a much cheaper average cost for customers to enhance financial inclusion.
‘’To promote transparency in its administration, the new USSD charges will be collected on behalf of MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) directly from customers’ bank accounts. Banks shall not impose additional charges on customers for use of the USSD channel.”
The Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) allows users without a smartphone or data/internet connection to use mobile banking through a specific code. USSD-based mobile banking can be used for fund transfers, checking account balance, generating bank statement, among other uses. The main objective of this payments service is to allow financial inclusion of the underbanked and economically weaker sections of the society, and integrate them into mainstream banking.