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Thursday, August 5, 2021

What Is USSD Banking?

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USSD mobile banking is a service that allows you to send money, check your account balance, mini statement and more without an internet connection. 

The country is gradually moving towards a cashless economy haven adopted USSD banking in Nigeria. Olusegun Obasanjo’s GSM phone (Global System for Mobile Communications) democratization regime is catalyzing to realize a digital Nigeria’s dream.

Table of Contents

What is USSD?

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USSD (Unstructured Additional Service Data), sometimes referred to as “quick codes” or “shortcodes,” is a global system for mobile communication (GSM) used to send text between mobile phones and a software application over a network. Applications can include subscription roaming or mobile chat.

USSD can be used for mobile money services, location-based content services, WAP browsing, prepaid callback services, menu-based information services, and as part of phone setup on the Web.

USSD is similar to Short Message Service (SMS), but unlike SMS, USSD transactions only occur during a session. SMS messages can be sent to a mobile phone and stored for several days if the phone is not activated or is in range.

USSD Banking In Nigeria

At any time, you may want to know your bank account balance or make a quick bank transfer from your account, as it is essential to know the exact code that you will be used to perform any of your banking transactions.

Below is a list of the best Nigerian banks that offer mobile banking services through USSD.

The service allows you:

  • Money transfer
  • Payments
  • Go shopping
  • View the mini-account statement
  • Check the account balance
  • Pay the bills
  • Save time for mobile phones
  • Get a cash token to withdraw cash without a card at an ATM. 
  • And much more without an Internet connection.

One of CBN’s strategies to encourage financial inclusion by reducing Nigerian adults’ financial exclusion rate to 20% and increasing access to financial services to 70% by 2020 is mobile banking.

USSD bank is an integral part of CBN’s mobile banking strategy.

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Highlights of USSD Banking In Nigeria

  • The technology does not require a smartphone; it works on a primary phone with a black and white screen. It uses the network channel of the GSM operator to transmit information.
  • Works without an internet connection, which depends on the connection of the GSM network provider
  • The service is adaptable to local languages. It can be configured in any language chosen by the customer. To use USSD banking services, you don’t need to speak or understand English.
  • The registration process is easy and straightforward as long as your phone number is linked to your bank account.

Common USSD Banking Codes In Nigeria

ACCESS BANK * 901#

  • Airtime – Self * 901 * Quantity#
  • Airtime – Others *901* Quantity * Phone number#
  • Transfers – *90* Amount * Account number#
  • Commercial Bill Payment – *901*3#
  • Pay PayWithCapture Merchant – * 901* 3 * Quantity * Merchant Code#
  • Generate one-time password – * 901 * 4 * 1 #
  • Check status – * 901 * 5 * 1 #

ECOBANK * 326 #

Dial * 326 # and follow the prompt for all transactions.

FIDELITY BANK * 770 #

  • Airtime – Self * 770 * Quantity #
  • Airtime – Others * 770 * Phone number * Quantity #
  • Transfers: *770*Account number* Amount #
  • For other services, dial * 770 # and adhere the instructions.

FCMB

  • Dial * 389 * 214 # to register and follow registration instructions and all transactions

FIRST BANK * 894 #

  • Airtime – Self * 894 * Quantity #
  • Airtime – Others * 894 * Quantity * Phone number #
  • Transfers – * 894 * Amount * Account number #
  • For all other transactions, call * 894 # and follow the instructions.

GTBANK *737#

  • Airtime – Self * 737 * Quantity #
  • Airtime – Others * 737 * Quantity * Phone number #
  • Data Top Up – * 737 * 4 # and follow the instructions on-screen
  • Transfers to GTBank – *737*1*Amount*Account number#
  • Transfers to another bank account – * 737 * 2 * Amount * Account number #
  • Dial * 737 # and follow the instructions for other services.

HERITAGE * 322 #

  • Airtime – * 322 * 030 * quantity #
  • For all other services, dial * 322 * 030 # and follow the instructions.

JAIZ BANK * 389 * 301 #

  • Airtime – * 389 * 301 * Amount #
  • Dial * 389 * 301 # and follow the prompt for all transactions.

KEYSTONE BANK * 7111 #

  • Airtime Self – * 7111 * Quantity #
  • Airtime Others – * 7111 * Quantity * Phone number #
  • Transfers – * 7111 * Quantity * Account number #
  • For all other transactions, dial * 7111 # and follow the on-screen instructions.

POLARIS * 833 #

  • Transfers – * 833 * Amount * Account number #
  • Airtime – * 833 * Quantity * Phone number #
  • For all other transactions, dial * 833 # and follow the on-screen instructions.

STANBIC * 909 #

  • Transfer time – dial * 909 * Quantity #
  • Transfers to Stanbic accounts – *909*11*Amount*Account number#
  • Transfers to another bank account – * 909 * 22 * ​​Amount * Account number #
  • For all other transactions, dial * 909 # and follow the on-screen instructions.

STERLING BANK * 822 #

  • Airtime Self – Dial * 822 * Quantity #
  • Airtime Others – Dial * 822 * Amount * Phone number #
  • Transfers to accounts in Sterling – * 822 * 4 * Amount * Account number #
  • Transfers to another bank account – * 822 * 5 * Amount * Account number #

UNION * 826 #

  • Transfer – * 826 * 1 * Amount * Account number #
  • For all other transactions, dial * 826 # and follow the on-screen instructions.

UNITY BANK * 7799 #

  • Transfer – * 7799 * 1 * Account number * Amount number
  • For all other transactions, dial * 7799 # and follow the on-screen instructions.

UBA * 919 #

  • Airtime Self – * 919 * Quantity #
  • Airtime Others – * 919 * Quantity * Phone number #
  • For all other transactions, dial * 919 # and follow the on-screen instructions.

WEMA * 945 #

  • Airtime – * 945 * Phone number * Quantity #
  • Transfers – *945*Account number*Amount #
  • For all other transactions, dial * 945 # and follow the on-screen instructions.

ZENITH * 966 #

  • Airtime – * 966 * quantity #
  • Transfers – * 966 * Amount * Account number #

To confirm your BVN for all banks * 565 * 0 #

MTN Nigeria

* 904 * amount # to top up at any time from any bank account associated with your MTN line.

GLO Nigeria

* 805 # to top up the time from any bank account associated with your GLO line.

How to Use USSD Codes for Banking Transactions

  • Enter the bank’s USSD code into the dial and press the dial button
  • Follow the instructions on the phone screen.
  • If you are using the bank’s USSD code for the first time, you will need to set up a PIN code to approve/verify transactions. Some banks may require you to use the last 4-6 digits of an ATM/debit card as a security PIN.

And it’s straightforward. However, to use any Nigerian bank’s USSD code for transactions, you must have an active account with that bank, except you are trying to open a new account using the USSD code. Also, the number from which you dial the code must be associated with your bank account.

If you no longer use the number associated with your bank account or have lost your SIM card, you must contact your bank to change the phone number associated with your account. You can also download the SIM card from your network operator.

Although the cellular connection/network reception/signal strength is low, USSD banking is a hugely innovative technology that has provided low and high-income people with a seamless banking experience without the internet.

Although USSD services are generally free, some banks charge a fee ranging from 5 to 20 Naira for each successful transaction/activity performed using their USSD interface.

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Fadehan Emmanuel
Moore is an associate contributor of Xplorion. Got a NEWS TIP related to this story or to anything else in the world of big tech? Please e-mail him: mooreplug[at]gmail.com. You can also connect with him via the connections below the box.
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