USSD Face-off: Banks Unblock,Reconnect MTN To Banking Channels!

A shopper walks past an MTN shop at a mall in Johannesburg, South Africa, March 2, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Information which filtered into the Business Desk of themeteornewshub Sunday night, indicate that Mobile Telephone Network (MTN) customers have been reconnected to the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) payment channels.

The blockade was sequel to the reduction of banks’ commission from an average of 4.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent by MTN.

The banks had threatened to block MTN airtime on all their channels if the telecommunications company did not revert to the old commission.

Several customers on the MTN platform could not buy airtime or mobile data over the weekend because all the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) had blocked the firm from banking channels prompting it to
advise subscribers to seek alternative means of recharging their phones.

A message to that effect from MTN read :”Dear Customer, our bank recharge channels are currently unavailable. Kindly recharge using physical cards. We apologise for the inconvenience. Thank you”.

While another read: “Please be informed that some of MyCustomers may not be able to purchase airtime and data recharges via banks including MOD and myMTN App. Please pacify MyCustomers and educate them to use MTNTopit, MoMo channels, as well as the debit card options on MOD or myMTN App.”

That was the situation until the Federal Government through
the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele waded into the matter and resolved the impasse.

In a letter on Sunday, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Karl Toriola, announced the decision to revert discount to 4.5 percent commission.

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The letter read :”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”.

“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.”

The amicable resolution of the face-off no doubt, will ease the frustrations of customers using the MTN platform to recharge their phones and transact other bank related businesses.

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