MTN snubs banks, embraces fintechs as USSD face-off escalates

MTN snubs banks, embraces fintechs as USSD face-off escalates

MTN Nigeria, one of the country’s leading telecommunication service providers, has taken up alternative e-payment channels for the recharge of customers’ phone lines as a face-off with banks escalates.


1st News reports that MTN announced on Saturday that its customers can recharge their lines through a number of fintech platforms.


This was disclosed in a release by its Senior Manager, External Relations, Funso Aina. The platforms include Flutterwave, Carbon, Kuda and OPay, among others.Further, it explained that customers could also recharge airtime by dialling *904# and *606#.


“It will interest you to note that for the benefit of our customers who have been greatly inconvenienced by the service suspension; we now have alternative channels of accessing MTN services electronically,” the statement read in part.


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USSD: Banks disconnect MTN from banking channels - Punch Newspapers


The development comes in the wake of a disagreement with a host of Nigerian banks. On Friday, a number of commercial banks had disconnected MTN customers from banking channels; including the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and banking apps. The action had caused a disruption, with many customers of the telco unable to recharge airtime via USSD.


The issue had stemmed from an earlier move by the telco; which slashed commission due to the banks on airtime recharge. The commission had been slashed from an average of 3.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent.  The development had angered the banks. Subsequently, they had written MTN, asking the telco to revise the action; adding that MTN would face a blockade on airtime recharge via their platforms.


Thereafter, the refusal of MTN to budge had seen the banks proceed to pull the plug on MTN services; leaving millions of customers stranded.


Consequently, the ongoing face-off has seen MTN now embrace fintech platforms in its boycott of the banks.


However, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has attempted to intervene. On Saturday, Pantami revealed that the issue is currently been discussed, with a view to finding a resolution.


 “We have reached an advance stage of resolving the issues, for the services to be restored to our citizens,” Pantami said.


Nevertheless, it remains to be seen if MTN will continue to rely solely on banks for the USSD service; even after the resolution of the controversy.

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