USSD banking is a type of mobile banking that can be accessed on any phone or mobile device using USSD codes. Through these codes, basic bank operations can be done at the comfort of one’s home or office- from transfers to paying for subscriptions and even recharging airtime, all these and more can be done with USSD banking. Sadly, Nigerians might no longer be able to use this service.
Gbenga Adebayo; the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) made it known that starting yesterday, the 15th of March 2021, the decision to cut USSD banking will take effect. In a statement made by the chairman, he revealed that Nigerian banks that provide banking services for its customers owe the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) the sum of ₦42 billion which is equivalent to $102.4 million. The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) comprises of internet service providers and all the telecommunication companies in Nigeria such as Airtel, MTN Nigeria, 9mobile and Glo.
The statement released by the Chairman revealed that the decision will start taking effect from yesterday starting with two banks and within the week, extend to other banks. Banks with the most debts will be cut out before others, until eventually the USSD service is no longer available.
Also, according to the statement the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) discussed the situation with Dr. Isa Pantami; the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). The association promises to restore the service only after the debts owed are settled.
USSD banking is one of the most accessible, if not the most accessible mobile banking platform. It is easy to use and requires basically your phone and pins that have already been set by the user. USSD banking unlike internet banking can be used on any type of phone no matter the phone’s specifications.
Now that the USSD banking might be unavailable for some time, users of the service are uncertain of what they will do. But this translates to them exploring other options like Internet Banking, using mobile apps, ATMs and PoS channels to continue whatever financial service they want to carry out.