Banks Lift Blockage Of USSD Transactions On MTN Customers

TECH DIGEST – Commercial banks have reconnected MTN customers earlier denied access to the unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) payment channels.

In a letter seen by TheCable, on Sunday, Karl Toriola, managing director and chief executive officer of MTN Nigeria, announced a decision to revert discount offered to banks on airtime sales to 4.5 percent commission.

The mobile network operator (MNO) had reduced banks’ commission from an average of 3.5 percent to 2.5 percent, this led to a disagreement between MTN and commercial banks.

“Our virtual meeting between yourself (Wigwe) and Segun Agbaje (MD of GTBank) on the one hand and myself (Toriola) and Modupe Kadri (chief financial officer of MTN Nigeria) on the other refers,” the statement read.

“In an attempt to resolve the current USSD recharge impasse, given the interventions from our regulators, we hereby agree The Banks revert to the status quo of 4.5% commission.

“However, the banks and MTN Communications Nigeria Plc, shall sit to agree on various options that will result in the reduction in the costs on 6th of April 2021.”

Commercial banks had asked MTN to reverse its action to the old commission or would block MTN airtime recharge services in both mobile banking applications and unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) payment channels.

Due to MTN’s refusal to revert back the commission percentage, commercial banks except Zenith Bank, which is connected directly to the MNO, left many subscribers stranded and frustrated as they were informed to recharge their lines with physical cards.

On Friday, Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, had said the issue encountered by MTN users through the USSD channel will be resolved soon.

On Saturday, MTN had offered alternative channels for its subscribers to use in recharging their lines such as dialling *904# and *606#, and other electronic payment platforms.