The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has explained that the harmonisation of all Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) fees to a single rate of N6.98 will stabilise Nigeria’s payment system.
The CBN, in a statement released on Wednesday, March 17 said the exercise, which has the backing of key stakeholders will boost bank customers’ confidence in the payment system, bring more unbanked and underbanked to the financial system and ensure sustainability of the services to e-payment customers.
The banking regulator added that the new plan replaces the per session billing structure, ensuring a much cheaper average cost for customers to enhance financial inclusion adding that the approach is transparent and will ensure the amount remains the same, regardless of the number of sessions per transaction.
According to it, wide acceptance and usage of the USSD shows that it remans the best and fastest available communications technology that delivers mobile financial services to s, low-income customers.
The apex bank said it will continue to engage relevant operators and all stakeholders to promote cheaper, seamless access to mobile and financial services for all Nigerians.
It said that with the new policy, the disagreements that have for long exists between the MNOs and Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) will be put to rest, while assuring that there will no longer be additional charges on customers for use of the USSD channel.
The central Bank said: “The protracted disagreements between DMBs and MNOs concerning the appropriate USSD pricing model for financial transactions has been put to rest.”
The CBN explained further that the USSD is a critical channel for delivering financial services, particularly for the underserved and/or financially excluded.
According to it, “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.”