The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced new charges for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services.
The CBN made the announcement after a meeting between the banking and telecommunications sectors.
There have been disagreements over charges for usage of USSD by bank customers, which had led to the removal of the banks from the USSD platform, and also resulted into accumulated debt.
While negotiations haven’t concluded on how to balance the debt owned by banks, the CBN and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have agreed that bank customers be charged N6.98kobo per transaction.
The new charge will replace the per session billing structure initially in place. The N6.98 kobo charge for USSD will be collected by the banks on behalf of MTN Nigeria, Airtel, Glo and 9mobile.
The charges will begin on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, with the banks allowed to use the USSD code for customer transactions.
In the statement seen by Ripples Nigeria, CBN stated, “We are pleased to announce that after comprehensive deliberations on the key issues, a resolution framework acceptable to all parties was agreed.”
Adding that, “This approach is transparent and will ensure the amount remains the same, regardless of the number of sessions per transaction.
“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.
“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.
“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.”