The management of the Nigerian Deposit Money Banks (DMB) has denied asking MTN Nigeria to impose new charges on customers who use the telecom firm’s unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) channels to carry out financial transactions.
MTN had on Sunday announced that they would start charging their subscribers N4 for every 20 seconds of using USSD bank codes, claiming they took the decision on request of the commercial banks.
But in a counter statement on Monda, the DMB said the decision to charge customers for accessing USSD was entirely that of the telecommunications company and not theirs.
“Our attention has been drawn to SMS sent on Saturday 19th October by MTN Nigeria Communications PLC (“MTN”) to customers of banks in Nigeria in respect of the above.
“The message states that the banks requested MTN to start charging customers for USSD transactions directly. It also asks customers to contact their banks for more information. We wish to state as follows:
“That the banks did not ask MTN to start charging customers as contained in the text message. The decision on whether, and what amount, to charge a customer for accessing USSD is entirely that of the telco company, in the same way a customer is billed for calls, SMS and data.”
The Bank CEOs further hinted that despite meetings with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) since 2018 on reducing the cost of USSD to aid financial inclusion, MTN remains “the only telco yet to implement end-user billing which is the standard practice for customer-initiated transactions”.