CBN agrees on new charges for USSD services

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have announced the introduction of new charges of N6.98 per transaction every time you use the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services.

The new charges will take effect immediately was part of the agreement reached when banks and telecommunication operators met on Monday to discuss the N42bn debt.

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

According to the statement jointly signed by the CBN and the NCC, the new price was part of the resolution reached at the meeting held on Monday which was chaired by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami.

The statement which was titled, “Joint Statement by Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigerian Communications Commission on Pricing of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) Services”, partly read,

 “We are pleased to announce that after comprehensive deliberations on the key issues, a resolution framework acceptable to all parties was agreed thus:

“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. 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.”

“A settlement plan for outstanding payments incurred for the USSD services, previously rendered by the MNOs is being worked at 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 to enable seamless, direct and transparent customer billing.’’

“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.’’

The statement reiterated that 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.

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

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