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The Dos and Don’ts of USSD banking

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By Elizabeth Adegbesan

WHAT is USSD Banking?  The Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) banking is a type of banking that enables you carry-out bank transactions by simply dialling a short code on your phone. It does not require the use of internet/web.

The  USSD is a Global System for Mobile (GSM) communication technology. It is used for sending texts messages between a mobile phone and an application programme in the owners’ network.

Examples of  these USSD banking codes include: Guarantee Trust Bank’s-*737#;  Fidelity Bank’s    *770#;    First Bank’s  *894#; Wema Bank’s *945#; Skye Bank’s *833#; Sterling Bank’s *822#;    Diamond Bank’s *710#;    Eco Bank’s *326#;    Zenith Bank’s *966#;    FCMB’s *389#, Unity Bank’s *389#, United Bank of Africa’s *919#, Union Bank’s *389#, Heritage Bank’s *322#, Keystone Bank’s *533#, Access Bank’s  *901# among others.

Uses of USSD code
You can use the USSD code  to perform various banking transactions such as buying airtime,  opening bank account, checking your account balance, transferring money to your bank and other banks, and payment of utility bills, etc.

How does USSD banking work?

You must have a bank account linked to your mobile telephone number to perform a USSD transaction.   You don’t need to go to a bank to register for the USSD code.  Registration is done with your mobile phone as long as you have your bank’s debit card and Biometric Verification Number (BVN).  You can only use the particular SIM card or the telephone number you provided when opening  your account.    There is a limit to the amount of money you can    transfer through    USSD banking, and this    is determined by your bank.

Process of USSD banking

Depending on your bank, there are various ways you can use the USSD application on your phone to carry out any of the numerous bank transactions. All you need to do is dial your bank’s USSD code. Each bank has specific codes for specific type of transaction. These are provided on the bank’s website.    For some banks, a list of options will appear on your phone screen. Choose the transaction you wish to perform and follow subsequent instruction from the bank.

Some banks may request your Bank Verification Number (BVN), Personal Identification Number (PIN) or the four digit number at the back of your ATM card. This is to confirm the authenticity of the person performing the transaction. If you find it difficult to perform USSD transactions on your phone, contact your bank customer service.

The dos of USSD banking

There are some things you need to do when performing a USSD transaction: Your phone should be charged to avoid loss of power in the midst of the transaction. Double-check the receiver’s account number when transferring funds or paying bill. You must wait for the confirmation text from the bank that the transaction is successful. In absence of such confirmation and your account is debited, contact your bank immediately to resolve the transaction. In case of transfer, call the receiver to confirm receipt of the fund. If the response is no and your account has been debited, contact your bank to resolve it immediately.

The don’ts of USSD banking

You must have avoid  the following for a safe and successful USSD banking: Do not reveal your PIN or BVN to a third party. Do not repeat a transaction delayed or interrupted by the network. This is because the transaction might have been processed. If you repeat such transaction your account might be debited twice. All you need do is to wait for an hour or more for a notification on such transaction.


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