Nigerians to pay N6.98 for every USSD transaction

The new pricing format replaces the former per session billing structure.

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele [Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde]

The apex bank announced on Tuesday, March 16, 2021 that the new format takes effect immediately for transactions conducted at deposit money banks and all CBN-licensed institutions.

The new pricing format replaces the former per session billing structure, according to a statement jointly released with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

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.

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