Banks have denied asking MTN to impose a new charge on customers for conducting financial transactions using the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD)
Last week Friday, one of the telecom giant MTN Nigeria with over sixty five million subscribers on its network, making up the 37.20 per cent of all telephone service users in Nigeria, through text messages and emails announced the decision to increase the cost of using the code from N4 per session to N4 per 20 seconds.
MTN notified users that the new development was initiated by a directive from various Deposit Banks.
However, the Body of Banks’ Chief Executive Officers in a press release claimed the controversial USSD charges were initiated by the communications company and had nothing to do with it.
“That the banks did not ask MTN to start charging customers as contained in the text message. The decision on whether, and what amount, to charge a customer for accessing USSD is entirely that of the telco company, in the same way, a customer is billed for calls, SMS and data.
“MTN is the only Telco that is yet to implement end-user billing which is the standard practice for customer-initiated transactions. This is despite the fact that the banks, working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), have engaged MTN over a period of more than one year to try and bring down the cost of USSD to aid financial inclusion, read the statement in part.
The statement by the group comes a day after the Minister of Communications ordered an immediate halt of the action by the telecom company until the matter had been discussed with the ministry.
“Yello, please, note that from Oct 21, we will charge N4 per 20 seconds for USSD access to banking services. Thank you,” read one of the text messages sent by the telecom company.