GTB management has come out openly to make confirmation to the total value of transactions processed via its USSD service – more than ₦1 trillion.
Almost all the banks in Nigeria have their USSD service ranging from *737# to *945# to *901# and many more. USSD services have now turned the order of the day for most banking services, thereby making any bank without a USSD code look outdated to its e-oriented customers.
GTB as we all know is a FinTech-focused bank, and its USSD service is the 737 platform which allows for primary online transactions on feature phones and smartphones. Considering the success rate of the 737 platform, MD Segun Agbaje believes other banks used GTB’s 737 success as a trigger to starting theirs.
Agbaje stated that the flexibility of the platform –ability to work on any type of phone ranging from feature phones to windows phone to iPhones and Android phones- is one of the major reasons behind the platform’s success; unlike mobile apps that have limitation of some sort to customers.
“Within a year of the introduction of the service, the bank recorded an uptake of over three million customers, with over N1 trillion in transaction on the platform. The platform had gained ubiquitous acceptance and global recognition,” said Agbaje.
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The USSD service has not only inspired other banks to roll out USSD services but it has also been a strong source of motivation for FinTech startups that become eager to have partnerships with telecoms companies. These startups seek this partnership in order to present USSD-based value-added services. They –startups- haven’t entirely been successful in these partnerships as the clients they are supposed to partner with prefer to open up channels to banks rather than the startups.
Even Lanre Adeloye, co-founder of SaferMom –a health startup- commended the established companies and downplayed the success of startups in giving out USSD services owing to longer processes it may take them.
Adeloye said, “Even when startups are able to raise the funds required, it often takes a longer time, a minimum of six weeks, before they can procure the short code. And after the short code has been paid for, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) can easily shut it down at will. Most VAS providers want to make quick money and they are always looking for companies who will launch a USSD service with high volume.”