Nigerians who use the USSD services started to see a notice to pay N6.98 for each transaction session.
Jameela News reports that USSD is a critical channel for delivering financial services, especially for those who do not have access to physical banking infrastructure or internet services.
The message sent was “Please note, a N6.98 network charge will be applied to your account for banking services on this channel.”
The decision to charge users was agreed on in March by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
“Effective March 16, 2021, USSD services for financial transactions conducted at DMBs (Deposit Money Banks) and all CBN-licensed institutions will be charged at a flat fee of N6.98 per transaction,” a part of the statement read.
“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,” the CBN and NCC said in its March joint statement.
“The CBN and NCC shall continue to engage relevant operators and all stakeholders to promote cheaper, seamless access to mobile and financial services for all Nigerians.”
The charge is expected to be withdrawn from users’ bank accounts and remitted to mobile network operators, who provide infrastructure for the service to operate.
Many Nigerians took to Twitter today to express their anger over the charges.
“Things are really getting harder in this country a whole 6.98 approximately 7.00 to use #USSD,” one Twitter user wrote.
Radio Receiver Buzzes shhshshs : Sergeant Mike Cover me, I'm approaching the forest from the left wing over!!!
— UAR MINISTER (@1Egonu) June 4, 2021