NCC CBN announces new charges for USSD services

UNSTRUCTURED SUPPLEMENTARY SERVICE DATA, USSD services for financial transactions conducted at DEPOSIT MONEY BANKs, DMBs and all CBN – licensed institutions will be charged at a flat fee of N6.98k per transaction effective from March 16, 2021,
This replaces the current per session billing structure, ensuring a much cheaper average cost for customers to enhance financial inclusion.
This is the out come of the meeting of Chief Executive Officers of banks , CBN, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC and mobile network operators headed by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr ISA Pantami to resolve the protracted disagreements by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) concerning the appropriate USSD pricing model for financial transactions.
In a statement signed by the Acting Head, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr Osita Nwanisobi and The Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, this has resulted in the accumulation of outstanding fees for USSD services rendered leading to threat of service withdrawal by the MNOs.
It states that USSD is a critical channel for delivering financial services, particularly for the underserved and/or financially excluded hence the need to resolve the lingering dispute and ensure uninterrupted services to customers
The stakeholders agreed that this approach is transparent and will ensure the amount remains the same, regardless of the number of sessions per transaction.
It will also promote transparency in its administration, and the new USSD charges will be collected on behalf of Mobile Network Operators, MNOs directly from customers’ bank accounts.
It states that also classified as Confidential Banks shall not impose additional charges on customers for use of the USSD channel.
A resolution was also reached on 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.
In addition, 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.

With the above resolutions, the impending suspension of DMBs from the USSD channel is hereby vacated and DMBs shall no longer be disconnected from the USSD channel.
It also reminded the public the use of USSD channel is optional, as several alternative channels such as mobile apps, internet banking and ATMs may be used for financial transactions.

It states that the CBN and NCC shall continue to engage relevant operators and stakeholders to promote cheaper, seamless access to mobile and financial services for all customers.
PR/ Chioma Ezike.

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