Banks disconnect MTN from USSD banking channels

Commercial banks in Nigeria have all disconnected MTN network from banking channels leaving customers stranded.

This development includes the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data and banking apps.


Recall that there has even an uproar from MTN customers who complained on Friday about being unable to recharge their MTN lines using USSD and other banking channels like the bank apps. Customers were also unable to do banking transactions on MTN lines through USSD.

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However, according to a source in MTN, this was not the doing of the telco but the banks who had refused to give any formal communication prior to the disconnection.

According to the source;

Please note that MTN didn’t cut off customers and has no hand in this. This is strictly the banks acting on their own.
“We woke up this morning to see that MTN customers were cut off from USSD services overnight. This has come as a surprise as there was no formal communication from the banks to their customers prior to their taking this action.

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The source also revealed that MTN had reduced the banks’ commission from an average of 3.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent which led to the actions taken by the banks.


According to the source, the reduction is standard because the volumes compensate for the reduction, adding that the contract with convenience channel partners and aggregators through which they were indirectly connected to the banks allowed this.

In response to the action taken by MTN, the source continued;

The banks wrote back to the aggregators to revert back to the old commission, otherwise, they would block MTN airtime in all their channels.
The channels were blocked midnight leaving our customers stranded. Interesting that the bank Managing Directors met and quickly took a decision. Subscribers to telecommunications are being denied services by the banks even when they have money in their accounts.”

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He noted that Zenith bank, which was connected directly to MTN and had its earnings at 2.70 per cent, was the only bank that had not blocked the telco.


According to the source, the banks were unwilling to pay the cost of the USSD channel and were okay with cutting off subscribers in order to protect their profits.
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