Through Saturday and Sunday the 19th and 20th of October, Nigerians using the MTN service provider would have seen a text notifying them that from Monday the 21st of October all USSD transactions would be charged to their bank accounts balances. Meaning that if you were to used your USSD code to buy airtime, check you account balance or make transfers, you would be charged N4 at that instance, the outrage reached twiiter and Facebook.
However we must know that the USSD service charge isnt a new thing, it has been incurred by banks for some time but according to MTN's twitter handle, the banks reached out to them and directed that it should be charged to the customers. Some customers of Stanbic IBTC can attest that for some time, they have incurred this cost, some Zenith Bank customers have noted that it has been in play for years but instead has been deducted at the end of the month, not at the moment of purchase.
The only way to avoid this additional cost it to download the banks mobile application from play stores instead of using the USSD codes.
Some network providers like Airtel and Etisalat have being charging customers before this so I guess this is nor really new. If you are using GTB and you think getting the app to avoid this charge you are making a mistake even the app has it's own charges too at the end of the month too.
When I heard of this USSD charges recently, it wasn't a surprise to me because I do make use of USSD a lot and even though am not charged at the moment of usage, they always charge me at the end of the month so I think this USSD charges isn't a new thing as they have been doing it since and I think the reason why people don't know about it is because they do not send debit messages showing that they charge for USSD just as they do for ATM card maintenance.
True, using the banks app to do all our transaction is better and safer. I did notice that even before MTN brought up this N4 stuff of theirs, they had already being collecting charges from the customers regular call credit. The customer loses money even without knowing. So using the app is more better.
Even before charges introduction and later to it's abolishment, I hate using USSD, I would rather go to the banking hall for transaction than making use of ussd, using USSD has numerous disadvantages than it's advantages the real reason I prefer bank mobile apps or visit to the banking hall.
they always charge me at the end of the month so I think this USSD charges isn't a new thing as they have been doing it since and I think the reason why people don't know about it is because they do not send debit messages showing that they charge for USSD just as they do for ATM card maintenance.