The Central Bank of Nigeria’s latest policy now allows all bank customers to pay a flat rate of N6.98 for every financial transaction completed using the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) service.
According to CBN on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, the new format takes effect immediately for transactions conducted at deposit money banks and all CBN-licensed institutions.
The CBN said the format will ensure a much cheaper average cost for customers to enhance financial inclusion through a channel used to deliver financial services particularly for the underserved and/or financially excluded.
Tuesday’s announcement was the resolution of a lingering dispute between banks and mobile network operators on an appropriate pricing model.
Operators have in the past threatened to cancel the service, leading to the intervention of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) last week claimed banks were owing operators N42 billion in outstanding payments.
The CBN said on Tuesday a settlement plan was being worked out to fully resolve the conflict between both parties.
The new charges will be collected directly from the customers’ bank accounts on behalf of mobile network operators.
“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,” CBN told customers.
The bank said it is committed to working with all relevant parties to lower cost and promote cheaper access to mobile and financial services for all Nigerians.
The National Communication Centre (NCC), also advised that the new pricing format replaces the former per session billing structure.