Banks Yet to Settle USSD Debt to Telcos as Cashless Transactions Hit N237trn in Q1


Banks Yet to Settle USSD Debt to Telcos as Cashless Transactions Hit N237trn in Q1

In the first quarter of 2024, cash transactions in Nigeria surged to a staggering N237 trillion, marking an 88 percent increase from the previous year’s N126 trillion, according to new statistics from the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS).

This surge underscores the country’s growing reliance on electronic payment channels, which were utilized 3.09 billion times in the first three months, representing a 6.2 percent increase from the corresponding period of 2023.

Read Also: Telcos Warn of Forex Scarcity’s Impact on Job Creation

The NIBSS records cashless transactions from the Nigeria Instant Payment System and Point of Sales terminals, with the total value of instant payments in the first quarter reaching N234.5 trillion, and PoS transactions amounting to N2.6 trillion.

Notably, cashless transactions have been on a steady rise, reaching N611.06 trillion in 2023, up from N395.38 trillion at the end of 2022, indicating a significant 54.55 percent year-on-year growth.

However, despite the rapid growth in cashless transactions, Nigerian banks are yet to settle their debts related to unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) with telecom operators.

Read Also: Telecom Operators to Disconnect DMBs Over N120 Billion USSD Debt

Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of the Association of Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), expressed concern over the increasing debt owed by banks, which has now reached N200 billion. Adebayo emphasized the urgency of settling these debts and warned that telcos may block debtors from accessing USSD services if the debts are not paid promptly.

USSD services are critical for facilitating transactions, and mobile telecom companies in Nigeria, including MTN, Glo, Airtel, and 9mobile, had received approval from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) last year to disconnect Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in the country due to their failure to pay debts pegged at N120 billion for USSD services.

The situation highlights the importance of resolving these outstanding debts to ensure the uninterrupted provision of essential services and maintain the integrity of the country’s financial infrastructure.

Read Also: NCC introduces Unified USSD Codes Compatible For All Mobile Networks

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