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BREAKING: Customers May Pay #7 For Using USSD, By New CBN Directive

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) have agreed to reduce the charge on customers using unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) to N6.98 for each transaction.

In a joint statement released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Tuesday, the new charge provides customers with cheaper average cost.

Telcos recently announced their plan to suspend USSD services over N42 billion debt owed by financial service providers.

But Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, had asked the telcos to halt their strike.

According to the joint statement, Pantami chaired a meeting of key stakeholders to discuss an amicable resolution in the interest of the general public.

It was resolved that effective March 16, USSD services for financial transactions conducted at DMBs and all CBN – licensed institutions will be charged at a flat fee of N6.08 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,” the statement reads.

“To promote transparency in its administration, 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.

“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.”

It noted that the impending suspension of banks from the USSD channel is hereby vacated.

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.

The meeting was attended by representatives of MNOs, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), DMBs, CBN and NCC.
 
The Cable

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