Bank CEOs, NCC, CBN to meet over USSD charges

Body of Bank Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) will meet on the dispute surrounding the charges for use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD). 

The telcos and the banking sector agreed to meet next year to resolve the disagreement that ensued from the use of USSD codes. There has been confrontation between the two sectors after the banks proposed to charge customers N50 for using the USSD codes while the telcos will also charge its subscribers N4 for the same service.

The uproar over USSD charges started on the 20th October 2019 when MTN subscribers received a message from MTN. The message read: “Yello, as requested by your bank, from October 21, we will start charging you directly for USSD access to banking services. Please contact your bank for more info.” 

Shortly after, another Yello message was sent to inform Nigerians about the N4.00K charge on every 20 seconds session access to USSD banking services. Customers and subscribers raised alarm regarding the decision, which implies double charges for one USSD transaction. Both the telecoms firms and the banks had traded blames as regards the motive of the double billing, with the network providers threatening to bar banks from the utilisation of the USSD codes. 

After so much back and forth talks on who was to blame for the charges between the telcos and banks, the NCC suspended the end-user billing for financial transactions by telcos through USSD channel.

Hence, stakeholders of the two sectors will meet for a resolution on the use of USSD. Although the time frame for the meeting wasn’t disclosed, The Nation reported that the meeting would be held early in the year (2020).

Numerous dialogue underway: Nairametrics had previously reported that the CBN had disclosed that it was in talks with telecommunications companies and NCC for new USSD charges. It was stated that engagement was ongoing to find a new conducive pricing regime for USSD services in the Industry.

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