Initially imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian Communications Commission on 16th March 2021, the N6.98k USSD charge has now been fully implemented. With hundreds of Twitter users waking up to the rude shock on their phones in the morning of 4th June 2021, it seems this particular USSD charge has come to stay. Here is an article on how to avoid or stop USSD bank charges for your transactions. These are the alternatives to USSD.
This is coming after years of an unresolved controversy over “who-bears-what” between TELCos and Nigerian Deposit Money Banks (DMBs). In March, the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) stated in one of its publications that its members were owed N42 billion by DMBs.
Interesting article? Read: 10 Profitable Businesses You Can Start with 50K, 40K, 30K, 20K, 10K Naira in Nigeria
However, the CBN and NCC, in a series of meetings, had since intervened and it was concluded that the end-users (customers) should be the ones to bear the (Six Naira, Ninety-Eight Kobo) N6.98k per transaction cost for the service. Hitherto, customers used to get debited per session, which was technically more expensive. However, industry watchers say this move is a step backwards for financial inclusion.
5 Ways to Avoid the N6.98k USSD Charge
Nonetheless, this article will assist its readers with ways to avoid this N6.98k bank USSD charge and still get service. These are the alternatives to USSD. Let’s get to it:
Use the Chat Banking Option
Many banks have platforms called Chat Banking platforms. They are hosted on the social media platforms e.g Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc for convenient banking. UBA has Leo, Fidelity Bank has Ivy, and so on. Sources say that banks are expecting their customers to enroll en masse for this service because it is as efficient and convenient as USSD banking. Not all banks have this service, so confirm if your bank has it and enroll for it.
Use Mobile Banking App
Every Nigerian bank has a dedicated mobile app to assist their customers with transactions, just like USSD. The only difference here is that the customer must have a smartphone (iOS or Android) where the mobile app will be downloaded to. The Internet, too, is also required. This is a good alternative to bank USSD codes.
Basically, the customer has to download the application to their phone, sign up, and start using the app for transactions. The plan is to stop USSD bank charges
Interesting article? Read: How to Buy PTA and BTA from Nigerian Banks; Requirements
Use internet Banking
Nigerian banks also have their individual internet banking platforms, built for the same purpose of assisting customers with their transactions. In fact, the internet banking platforms are mostly more elaborate than the mobile banking apps – they typically offer more options. They are as efficient and convenient as USSD banking. Check the internet banking site for your bank and enroll. This is a good alternative to USSD code.
Use POS Merchants
Scattered all over Nigeria today, are different POS merchants and Agency Banking Stalls. These merchants are basically “mini banks”, as they perform ALL the functions of normal Deposit Money Banks (DMBs). They even open accounts too. If you’re buying airtime, buying data, transferring money, depositing money, withdrawing cash, etc, all you need to do is just approach them. So, this is one of the very good alternatives to USSD code.
Interesting article? Read: CBN Introduces the “Naira 4 Dollar Scheme” Through IMTOs
Use the ATMs for Your Transactions
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are actually equipped with many other options, apart from assisting with your cash withdrawals. This is another good alternative to USSD code.On the ATM, you can withdraw cash, transfer money, load airtime, load internet data, open an account, etc. Using the ATM for transactions is as efficient and convenient as USSD banking.