MTN, banks reached truce on USSD as commercial lenders reconnect telecom firm’s subscriber on platforms
MTN Nigeria has agreed to restore the commission it pays commercial banks for providing payment platforms to its subscribers after the intervention from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the minister of communication, Isa Patami in the dispute.
Some banks had on Friday cut off MTN from their banking platforms, making it impossible for millions of customers to buy credit for their phones.
Subsequently, MTN has also on Saturday said that its customers can now recharge their phones through payment solutions platforms such as Flutterwave, Jumia Pay, OPay, Kuda, Carbon and BillsnPay, in what appears to be bluffing of the commercial banks move.
However, MTN agreed that the banks revert to the status quo 4.5 percent commission while a meeting for the reduction of the charges will hold on April 6, as both industry regulators intervened to stave off the face-off between the telecom firm and some commercial lenders.
“We hereby agree that the banks revert to status quo of 4.5 percent commission,” MTN Nigeria Managing Director Karl Toriola said in a letter to the Chairman of Body of Banks’ chief executives, Herbert Wigwe.
“In an attempt to resolve the current USSD recharge impasse, given the intervention from our regulators, we hereby agree that the banks revert to the status quo of 4.5 percent commission.
“However, the banks and MTN Communications Nigeria Plc shall sit to agree on various options that will result in the reduction in the costs on 6th of April 2021,” MTN wrote in the letter.
Subsequent upon the review of the MTN commission back to the status quo ante, the banks have since unblocked MTN customers from their banking channels, thus enabling them to recharge virtually via USSD and other channels linked to their accounts.
On Friday, all lenders in Nigeria, except Zenith Bank, took MTN Nigeria off their platforms after MTN reduced the commission by almost half to 2.5 percent.
Airtime sales were suspended through all channels — banking apps, USSD codes and even debit cards.
MTN Nigeria control the largest subscribers in the telecoms industry in the country, accounting for 39.52 percent of market share and a total of 77.35 million subscribers.
Banking channels are the preferred medium for many Nigerians to buy call credits on their phones because of the convenience they provide. Other telecoms have not been affected by the action. The banks couldn’t be reached for comment.