By Martin Ekpeke
The Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) has given a verdict that the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) technology platform has become the most accessible channel for financial and non-financial transaction in Nigeria.
This is even as the provider of the infrastructure for automated processing, settlement of payments and fund transfer instructions between banks and card companies, disclosed that the banking hall transaction has declined by 25 per cent in the last one year, largely to the adoption of technology platforms by Nigerians.
The Managing Director of NIBSS, Adebisi Shonubi, who made the disclosure at a Financial Inclusion Seminar organized by Accion Microfinance Bank, noted that the proliferation of mobile phone is facilitating the expansion of financial services to semi urban and rural areas, which hitherto are seen as hard-to-reach populations.
“USSD appears to be the most sort after platform for financial transfers. Meaning, there is already knowledge. So, we need to build on that and use USSD technology to provide more services in our effort to have a truly financial inclusion economy,” Shonubi said.
The growing adoption of the USSD can be attributed to the fact that it has helped bank customers facilitate low-value retail payments, grow e-payments by providing accessible electronic channels to a wider range of users and has also helped to extend e-payment benefits to payers and merchants at the bottom of the pyramid where usage of cash has been predominant.
Meanwhile, as of today only 3.5 million people representing 12 per cent of 30 million bank customers are using Point of Sale (POS) machines and they are knowledgeable people within the society, with bank-branch transactions dropping by about 25 per cent. Internet banking transactions have dropped by 15 per cent, while use of Apps has grown by about 10 per cent.