Over the weekend, bank customers were informed that they will start charging them N6.98 for every USSD transactions. However, the rate at which banks deduct money from their customers has made Nigerians seek ways to avoid traditional financial institutions.
The USSD charges by banks is in addition to VAT, charges for text messages, maintenance fees and so on.
Many bank customers in Nigeria now want to 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 platform.”
Although, bank customers can make use of other electronic platforms available in the banks to avoid paying the fees, many Nigerians have rather opted for Online Banks. They are registered entities regulated by the CBN but do not require any charges. No text charges, no deductions on transactions. “Its a relief, and I have emptied my account with those banks,” a bank customer stated.
“By the time you live your money inside these banks, you can’t withdraw the same amount again. Every month, N1,800 is at least deducted from my account because of the rate of transaction,” another Lagos based business woman says.
Online banking platforms generate account number for customers after downloading the App, you can save for interest weekly, monthly or as at when you’re ready. Customers can earn more money by just saving and with much higher interest than traditional financial institutions. Asides from the payment of bills and airtime, customers also get to borrow loans. For once, Nigerians can put money in a bank and not worry over getting sliced. Even these days, every Kobo counts.