By Lydia Ngwakwe
Lagos, June 9, 2021 Some bank customers on Wednesday said they would opt for alternative channels in view of the new fee of N6.98 introduced for use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) platform for banking transactions.
Some of the customers who spoke in separate interviews with newsmen in Lagos, said that they would visit their banks to get their apps installed on their phones.
Others who already had such apps installed said they would begin to use it even though they preferred using the USSD codes because it was faster.
Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), a communications service controlled by mobile network operators, is a critical piece of infrastructure used to provide mobile financial services on most phones, at low cost.
Recall that over the weekend, some banks notified their customers that they would now be required to pay N6.98 for every banking transaction carried out on USSD banking platforms.
GTB message reads ” Please be informed that you are now required to pay a fee of N6.98 to your mobile network provider for every banking transaction carried out on all USSD banking platforms.
“This means that when you send money to anyone using USSD, a fee of N6.98 will be charged to your bank account, which is in turn remitted in full by your Bank, to your mobile network provider.
“Please note that Airtime and Data purchases via USSD are exempt from this charge on USSD platforms.
“As our customer, we are making sure you have as many options as possible for all your financial transactions. You can send money to anyone and pay bills anytime using our GTWorld Mobile App, at no extra charge,” it said.
Several other banks also sent similar messages to their customers.
Reacting, Mrs Afolake Duhu, a nursery school teacher, said that she would begin to use her bank’s app, since it is free.
“I have the app installed already on my phone, what actually deprived me from using it was the configuration which I understood has to be done by my bank.
“Because I do not have the time to visit the bank for that is the reason I have been using USSD codes.
” I will visit my bank for the settings to be done so that I can begin to use my bank app, after all, it’s free,” Duhu said.
Mr Clifford Peter, a businessman, expressed dissatisfaction with the fee charged, but said that he would use his Mobile app for his banking transactions.
“I am planning to activate Mobile app for all my bank accounts; we are not happy with the way things are going and what we are experiencing now , ” he said.
Mrs Mabel Igbodo, a civil servant, prayed that banks would not come up with charges on their Mobile App.
“The bank charges are becoming too much, after all the hidden charges customers get from their bank.
“The time has come for me to download my bank App and begin to use, that is if they will not come up with another deduction on that too,” she said.
Mrs Regina Fidelis, a fruit seller, said she would continue using USSD platform, not minding the fee charged.
” I am not happy with the fee charged but I have no option but to continue to use it because it is faster.
“I do not need a Mobile App in my phone for security reasons and for safety of my money,” she said.
Mrs Rebecca Ebri, a food vendor said she would neither use a USSD platform nor a Mobile App for her banking transactions.
“Even when I don’t use any of these services, I still receive alert of deductions from my bank.
” I will never use any of those, I prefer walking down to the Automated Teller Machine to carry out my banking transactions.
“Even though I do not have a lot of money in my account, the bank still carries out huge deductions from my account,” she said.
How we’ll handle new USSD fee — Customers Charge
By Lydia Ngwakwe