USSD Charges: Banks Disown MTN Claim, Say They Did Not Demand Any Charges

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Nigerian banks have slammed MTN's claim that it was the banks who demanded for the charges on customers for using the Telecom firms access codes to carry out financial transactions.

The Telecom giant on Sunday revealed a plan to commence charging their customers for using USSD with effect from 21st October; the MTN sent to their customers that they should contact their banks for clarifications.


The Federal Government through the Minister of communication, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, directed the Telecom to suspend the plan until further notice, saying there was no official correspondence to the effect after Nigerians expressed their dissatisfaction with the new planned charges.


The bank collectively issued a statement on Monday that MTN claim it was the bank who is responsible for initiating the charge was not true.


The Banks added, we did not request MTN to commence charging customers as sent to its customers by the Telecom giants through a text message. Saying the decision on whether, and what amount, to charge a customer for assessing USSD is entirely the decision of MTN, in the same way a customer is billed for calls, SMS and data.”


Accordingly, “MTN is the only company that has not yet implement end-user billing which is the standard practice for customer-initiated transactions. This is against the fact that banks, working through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), have engaged MTN over time to reduce the cost of its USSD to aid financial inclusion.”


In a similar manner, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) also opposed plans by MTN to apply the USSD charge.


The governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele, gave the bank’s position at a news briefing by the Nigerian delegation to the just-concluded World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings, in Washington on Sunday.