Nigerian bank customers will now pay a new charge for the use of unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) code for transactions. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said the new charge will begin today, Tuesday, March 16, 2021.
In a statement released by the apex bank, customers who transact with banks’ USSD codes will pay N6.98 kobo to the network providers per transaction, but the charge will be received by the lenders on behalf of the telecoms.
There have been confrontations about the charge attracted by the use of the mobile code, resulting in the network providers threatening to withdraw the service from the banks. The disagreement has led to accumulated outstanding fees owed to the mobile operators.
In order to end the feud between both sectors, the CBN met with the Nigerian Communications Commission, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, and the deposit money banks on Monday, March 15, 2021.
Newsonspot.com.ng reports that during the meeting, the new USSD charge was agreed on, but the implementation process hasn’t been approved. But the per-transaction billing is expected to replace the per session billing previously used before the disagreement.
It was confirmed by the financial regulator, that regardless of the number of sessions done before a transaction goes through, the deducted charge won’t be more than what was agreed during Monday’s meeting.
Prior to the new agreed charge, customers were charged per session of the USSD service regardless if the transaction goes through or not. Both the banks and telcos exchanged blame for the previous charge structure.
“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.”
In 2019, telcos said they could no longer provide the services for free and proposed to take a cut of N4.50k per 20 seconds from the charges paid by customers to the banks.
However, the banks kicked against it, alleging that it would raise costs by 450 percent.
But it was later agreed that banks should pay telcos. Telcos recently announced their plan to suspend USSD services over N42 billion debt owed by financial service providers.
But the federal government had asked the telcos to halt their strike