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Customers to pay N6.98 per USSD transaction – CBN, NCC

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CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele

Customers will now pay a flat rate of N6.98 per transaction every time they use the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data says the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

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The apex bank and NCC said the new charges effective Tuesday was part of the agreement reached when banks and telecommunication operators met on Monday to discuss the N42bn debt.

“Effective March 16, 2021, USSD services for financial transactions conducted at DMBs (Deposit Money Banks) and all CBN-licensed institutions will be charged at a flat fee of N6.98 per transaction,” CBN and NCC spokesman Osita Nwanisobi and Ikechukwu Adinde said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

“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.”

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Telecommunications operators had earlier threatened to withdraw the USSD service from banks following the refusal of the banks to pay the accumulated debt of N42 billion, which have accrued in the last eight months.

The telcos, under the aegis, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) claimed that since the USSD Pricing determination by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) which resulted in a price review of USSD service by its members, banks are yet to pay them the accumulated USSD transactions costs.

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The apex bank and NCC said the settlement plan for outstanding payments incurred for USSD services, previously rendered by the Mobile Network Operators (MNO), is being worked out by all parties in a bid to ensure that the matter is fully resolved.

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

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

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They noted that the impending suspension of banks from the USSD channel is hereby vacated as they would no longer be disconnected from the USSD channel.

CBN and NCC said 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,” the statement read.\

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

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