Posted by Tony Chukwunyem
With most published researched findings showing that the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) communication technology is currently the best available communications technology to deliver mobile financial services to low-income customers, it is perhaps not surprising that the majority of large scale Mobile Financial Services (MFS) deployments in the developing world use it as their primary mechanism for communication between customers and their mobile payments platform.
In Nigeria, for instance, the largest custodian of customer deposits, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has stepped up its financial inclusion drive with its USSD *894# Quick Banking service, the lender said in a statement.
It said the service is set to deliver to its customers the power to bank anywhere and at anytime.
The bank explained that the service: “is quick, convenient and easy to use and beneficiary accounts are credited instantly with alert notifications.
It also pointed out that the USSD technology facilitates sessions of communication that can be used in various areas of life including banking.
The lender revealed that it would soon launch services such as utility bill payment, payment for goods and services at any retail store in Nigeria, opening of savings account and linking customer Bank Verification Number (BVN) to the new accounts on the *894# Quick Banking service bouquet.
First Bank has more than 12 million customer accounts and over 750 branches providing a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services. The lender has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as its Representative Offices in Johannesburg, Beijing and Abu Dhabi.
According to an access to financial services survey by EFInA, 34.9million adults representing 39.7 per cent of Nigeria’s adult population were financially excluded as at 2012.
Analysts, however, believe that this figure is set to decline following the adoption of the USSD technology by lenders especially FirstBank.