Banks in Nigeria will now charge N6.98 for USSD transactions. 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.
USSD is a Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) protocol that is used to send text messages. It is similar to Short Message Service (SMS). USSD uses codes made up of the characters that are available on a mobile phone.
Emails sent to customers read in part:
“Please be informed that you are now required to pay a fee of N6.98 to your mobile network provider for every banking transaction carried out on all USSD banking platforms.
This means that when you access any banking service using USSD, a fee of N6.98 will be charged to your bank account, which is in turn remitted in full by your Bank, to your mobile network provider.”
CBN and NCC further assured in the statement that they’ll keep making it a seamless journey for stakeholders and relevant operators by promoting cheaper services.
It is also a critical channel for delivering financial services, especially for those who do not have access to physical banking infrastructure or internet services.
The CBN and NCC had said that the USSD channel is optional, as several alternative channels such as mobile apps, internet banking and ATMs may be used for financial transactions.
However, analysts have raised some concerns over the effect of the new charge on CBN’s effort to encourage financial inclusion, especially for individuals who do not have access to internet services.