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Customers condemn bank’ N7 USSD charge



CUSTOMERS of some banks are bemoaning their plight as banks are charging them N6.98 for every USSD transactions.

  A former President of 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.

   According to him, 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 sectors 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.

  Although some of the customers say they were notified before the banks commenced the charges, experts say that excessive charges 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 titled Update on USSD transactions stated that the charges will be made as fees on customers’ phone lines.

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  “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,” it reads.

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

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