TRAI slashes ceiling tariffs for USSD-based mobile banking

New Delhi, Nov 22 (IANS) To facilitate mobile banking for financial inclusion, the Indian telecom regulator has reduced tariffs for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD)-based mobile banking transactions to a third of existing rates, an official statement said here on Tuesday.

The sectoral regulator — Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) — lowered the tariff to a maximum of 50 paise per transaction, from earlier rate of Rs 1.50 per session.

As part of its quality of service regulation, TRAI has also increased the number of stages from five to eight per USSD sessions.

The USSD route is usually used by people with feature phones.

“These regulatory decisions are an outcome of the detailed consultation process that was initiated on August 2, 2016. Together, these amendments will facilitate the banks, their agents or any entity authorised by the Reserve Bank of India for better delivery of banking and payment services to the consumers through mobile phones over USSD,” the statement said.

The USSD service is used by people using feature phones to check the balance in their bank accounts, transfer money in tier II and tier III cities.