Ecobank Nigeria on Tuesday declared that it will not charge its customers on transactions through the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) channel.
The commercial bank, in a post on his verified Twitter page, quoted its Managing Director, Patrick Akinwuntan saying this at the 4th National Fintech Conference in Lagos.
Akinwuntan noted that it is possible for banks not to charge Nigerians on mobile banking, urging other banks and telcos to adopt the same policy in order to boost financial inclusion.
“@ecobank_nigeria will offer USSD banking *326# services free to all Nigerians. We challenge all other banks and telcos to do same…let’s bring financial services to all Nigerians and improve financial inclusion,” Ecobank Nigeria tweeted.
Recall that MTN Nigeria had recently sent a message to subscribers that it will start charging them for USSD access to banking services.
“Yello, please note that from October 21, we will charge N4 per 20 seconds for the USSD access to banking services. Thank you,” the message reads.
Body of Bank CEOs had already distanced itself from the charges, saying “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 entire that of the telco company, in the same way, a customer is billed for calls, SMS, and data.”
Reacting, the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) said banks are the biggest beneficiaries of the USSD charges.
Meanwhile, The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had announced: “the immediate suspension of End User Billing for financial transactions through USSD channel by all service providers.”