• Thu. May 26th, 2022

No more fees on USSD based mobile banking in India


Digital payment services in India have grown significantly in recent years. Often, users need to use Unstructured Additional Service Data (USSD) messages for mobile banking, payment, or other services. Users are typically billed at 50 paise for each USSD session. A particular session can be completed in eight steps. However, keeping in mind the growing use of USSD, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has proposed to remove charges on USSD messages in the future.

This TRAI initiative appears to be an initiative to promote digital transactions in India. If the proposal is well accepted by stakeholders, this will be great news for users. Users should keep this fact in mind that free USSD services will only be limited to mobile banking and payment services. The other USSD services will remain unchanged.

TRAI pointed out that the current rate per USSD session of any mobile banking service is several times higher than the rate charged for one minute of outgoing voice call. Therefore, it proposed zero charges on USSD messages for mobile banking and payment services.

What is a USSD

An Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) message is used to verify the various services available to the user. Just like an SMS, a user can send it without an active internet connection. Users must type in a code on their dial screen, then press the submit button. After a while, a message is displayed on the mobile screen indicating the validity of a particular service. However, unlike an SMS, USSD messages are not stored in the smartphone / phone memory. USSD notifications / messages can also be referred to as flash messages.

Before the advent of mobile banking and payment services, mobile phone users commonly used the service to check the balance of available calls on their registered mobile phone number at any given time. However, as mobile phone services have evolved, the use of USSD to check call balances has declined significantly.

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