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Customers to Pay N6.98 for USSD transactions as CBN, NCC Agree

 

The long –standing disagreement between deposit money banks and mobile network operators over the appropriate charge for USSD transactions was on Monday resolved at a meeting of representatives of various stakeholders which was convened by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami.

The Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) service is a fast convenient channel for financial transactions which has been most helpful in achieving the much desired inclusiveness for the vast population.

Following the resolution of the issues, an agreement was reached to the effect that each USSD transaction will attract a N6.98 charge effective Tuesday March 16,2021.

In a joint statement by the telecom sector regulator and the banking sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria respectively, made available to the media on Tuesday, this new development was made known.

The Statement said: “Effective March 16, 2021, USSD services for financial transactions conducted at DMBs and all CBN – licensed institutions will be charged at a flat fee of N6.98k per transaction.

“This replaces the current per session billing structure, ensuring a much cheaper average cost for customers to enhance financial inclusion. This approach is transparent and will ensure the amount remains the same, regardless of the number of sessions per transaction.

“To promote transparency in its administration, the new USSD charges will be collected on behalf of MNOs directly from customers’ bank accounts. Banks shall not impose additional charges on customers for use of the USSD channel.

“A settlement plan for outstanding payments incurred for USSD services, previously rendered by the MNOs, is being worked out by all parties in a bid to ensure that the matter is fully resolved.

“MNOs and DMBs shall discuss and agree on the operational modalities for the implementation of the new USSD pricing framework, including sharing of Application Programme Interface (APIs) to enable seamless, direct and transparent customer billing.

“DMBs and MNOs are committed to engaging further on strategies to lower cost and enhance access to financial services.

The statement assured that with this development, the impending suspension of DMBs from the USSD channel has been vacated.

In attendance at the meeting were representatives of the various Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), DMBs (represented by the Chairman, Body of Bank CEOs) and the sector regulators – Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

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