News is timeless

CBN, NCC Approve N6.98k Per Transaction For USSD Services


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have unveiled a new pricing model fixed at N6.98k for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) short code services for transacting mobile banking services.

In joint statement signed by head, Corporate Services, CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, and director, Public Affairs, NCC Dr. Ike Adinde, the two regulators stated that eeffective March 16, 2021, USSD services for financial transactions conducted at DMBs and all CBN – licensed institutions would be charged at a flat fee of N6.98k per transaction.

The two regulators had last night in a marathon meeting with the banks and mobile network chaired by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami resolved that effective March 16, 2021, USSD services for financial transactions conducted at DMBs and all CBN – licensed institutions would be charged at a flat fee of N6.98k per transaction.

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

Also, agreed was that the new USSD charges would be collected on behalf of MNOs directly from customers’ bank accounts and banks shall not impose additional charges on customers for use of the USSD channel.

The statement states that, “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. With the above resolutions, the impending suspension of DMBs from the USSD channel is hereby vacated. Therefore, DMBs shall no longer be disconnected from the USSD channel.”

They reminded the general public that the USSD channel is optional, as several alternative channels may such as mobile apps, internet banking and ATMs may be used for financial transactions.

“The CBN and NCC shall continue to engage relevant operators and stakeholders to promote cheaper, seamless access to mobile and financial services for all Nigerians,” the statement concluded.

Since 2019, the mobile network operators and the have had protracted disagreements concerning the appropriate USSD pricing model for financial transactions. This resulted in the accumulation of outstanding fees alleged to be about N42 billion for USSD services rendered leading to threat of service withdrawal by the MNOs.

Those present at the meeting include the various 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).

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More