Customers of several banks have been informed that they will be charged N6.98 for each USSD transaction.
Excessive bank charges, on the other hand, may constitute a threat to financial inclusion, according to experts.
According to them, it will promote cash transactions because many bank clients would avoid using the USSD for transactions, and it would discourage the unbanked sector of the population from paying such fees on 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.”
To avoid paying the costs, the banks advised consumers to use other electronic transactions accessible at the banks.
Dr. Sam Nzekwe, a former President of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, warned that too frequent bank changes were detrimental to the financial inclusion push, particularly for unbanked 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 to 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.”
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