Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) users in Nigeria have started receiving an N6.98 fee notice for each transaction session.

This follows the agreement reached in March between deposit banks and telecommunications companies after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) intervened in a debt dispute. accumulated.

A notice received by a customer of the bank said: “Welcome to USSD Banking. Please note that an N6.98 network charge will be applied to your account for banking services on this channel.

The CBN and NCC said in a joint statement that the introduction of the new USSD charges is intended to promote transparency, adding that they would be collected on behalf of mobile network operators (MNOs), which provide the infrastructure for services work, directly from customers’ bank accounts.

The joint statement from CBN and NCC read: ”We are pleased to report that after extensive deliberation on key issues, a resolution framework acceptable to all parties has been agreed as follows:

“As of March 16, 2021, USSD services for financial transactions made in DMBs (deposit banks) and all CBN approved institutions will be billed at a flat rate of N 6.98 per transaction. This replaces the current per-session billing structure, ensuring a much lower average cost to customers to improve financial inclusion.

To promote transparency in its administration, the new USSD fees will be collected on behalf of MNOs (mobile network operators) directly from customers’ bank accounts. Banks will not charge customers additional fees for using the USSD channel.

What you should know

USSD is a Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) protocol used to send text messages and is similar to Short Message Service (SMS). USSD uses codes composed of the characters available on a mobile phone.

It is also an essential channel for providing financial services, especially for those who do not have access to physical banking infrastructure or internet services.

The CBN and NCC have said the USSD channel is optional, as several alternative channels such as mobile apps, online banking and ATMs can be used for financial transactions.

However, analysts have expressed some concerns about the effect of the new fee on CBN’s efforts to encourage financial inclusion, especially for people who do not have access to internet services.

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