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Nigerians Lament As Banks Start Charging N6.98 For USSD Transactions

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Many Nigerians on Friday took to Twitter to react and vent as they started getting charged N6.98 for each USSD transaction they do.

Naija News reports Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) allows users without a smartphone or data/internet connection to use mobile banking through the use of a code.

USSD-based mobile banking can be used for fund transfers, checking account balance, generating bank statement, among other uses.

However, many users of the service are now lamenting the N6.98 charge they started noticing for each transaction on Friday.

“Welcome to USSD Banking.” “Please note, a N6.98 network charge will be applied to your account for banking services on this channel,” one notice said.

It will be recalled that back in March 2021, a joint statement released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) agreed to the new charge of N6.98 as a flat rate customers have to pay for each transaction on the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) service.

The decision was part of an agreement reached with deposit money banks following a disagreement between banks and telecom firms over USSD and other text message transaction requests.

The statement reads in part: “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.”

But there are fresh concerns about the hardship such charges will have on Nigerians.

See some reactions from Twitter.