The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have stopped banks from charging customers who use Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) service.
In a joint statement issued by CBN and NCC, the regulators stated that, USSD services for financial transactions conducted at DMBs and all CBN- licenced institutions will be charged a flat fee of N6.98 per transaction, effective March 16, 2021.
According to the statement, “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 and all CBN- licenced institutions will be charged 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 session per transaction;
To promote transparency in its administration, the new USSD services 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
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 (API) 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.”