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Telecommunication company, Airtel Nigeria has discontinued N5 charges on every 20 seconds spent during a USSD bank transaction.

Concise News understands that this comes hours after the telecommunications company began the billings.

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It was learnt that despite directives from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) that telecommunication companies should desist from charges imposed on its customers for using bank USSD, Airtel continued with the billing.

Airtel customers on Friday said that the service provider did not deduct from their airtime after using USSD for bank transactions.

“Before now, we charged N4.89K for USSD bank transactions, but this has been discontinued since yesterday,” a Customer care agent told Daily Post.

“If you experience it after yesterday, please call us back. Before yesterday, we were charging for bank transactions with USSD, but not again.”

Banks Issue Order

Concise News had reported that Nigerian banks allegedly proposed to telecommunication companies to charge customers directly for USSD services.

The bank CEOs on Monday denied instructing the telcos to charge for USSD.

They said 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”.

However, in a leaked memo to the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) by the Body of Banks’ Chief Executive Officers (BOBCEO) dated  September 16, 2019, the bank MDs had proposed an “orderly implementation” of end-user billing for bank customers, “aligning with the standard practice for USSD billing.”

In the memo to ALTON which was signed by 13 banks, the bank MDs had kicked against sharing the revenue from USSD transactions with the telcos.

GTBank, for instance, charges N50 plus VAT for instant transfers to other banks and N20 plus VAT for GTB-to-GTB transfers.

The telcos, who provide the platform for the USSD service, had proposed to take a cut of N4.50k per 20 seconds from the charges paid by customers to the banks.

However, the banks kicked against it, alleging that it would raise the cost by 450 percent.