Banks commence N6.98 USSD charge, customers lament

Some banks have notified their customers that they will start charging them N6.98 for every USSD transactions.

However, experts have said that excessive charges by banks could pose a threat to financial inclusion.

According to them, it will increase cash transactions because many bank customers would avoid using the USSD for transactions and could also discourage the unbanked segment of the population because they would not like to pay such charges over their little deposits.

A message from some of the banks, including Guaranty Trust Bank, First Bank and Fidelity Bank on ‘Update on USSD transactions’ stated, “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.”

The banks urged the customers to make use of other electronic transactions available in the banks to avoid paying the fees.

 A former President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, Dr. Sam Nzekwe, said too many changes by banks were unfriendly to financial inclusion drive, especially to the un-banked Nigerians.

 He said people would prefer to walk into the banking hall to make payments.

“There are many charges that the banks charge the customers, even if you don’t do any transaction. Some of these informal sectors will start running away because they cannot understand the many charges. That is why many of the informal sector still do their transactions by cash.

“What an average customer wants is show me why you should charge me. But you are charging me for many things and at the end of the month you will still charge me again.”

He said banks should be completely open to their customers in their transactions.

A fashion designer, Balogun, said, “I have bank account but I prefer to go to bank and do my things. How much do I have in my account that they want to be deducting charges anyhow?”

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