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Nigerians still struggle with *966#; *894#; *737#; #*919#; *711# USSD codes

Financial institutions have been instructed to upgrade their e-payment platforms as more Nigerians turn to electronic payment methods due to severe cash shortages in the economy.

PPC Ltd, Nigeria’s lCT and Infrastructure Development Corporation, gave this advice over the weekend. Dr. Patrick Ede, Director of Operations and Head of the ICT Division at PPC, noted that a number of failed and unsuccessful transactions are being brought on by the inadequacy of the e-payment channels to withstand the flood of transactions orchestrated by the surge in the use of such channels for payment.

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The country’s banks were never prepared for the level of surge they are currently experiencing, he continued, so the congestion and ensuing system downtime are negatively affecting the commercial activities of merchants. Transactions have become slow, delayed, and occasionally incomplete as a result. ​

The ICT expert urged banks to take action to ensure that all electronic payment channels operate concurrently, swiftly, and effectively.

According to Ede, “the increasing demand on the banks’ digital channels requires for increased investment in trustworthy payment systems that quickly process transactions.

“Banks should conduct an audit of payment channels to find weaknesses and loopholes in the system with a view to phased resolution in order to reduce the congestion on payment channels. This initial step will make sure that banks increase the bar for the customer experiences they offer and maintain the customer as the core of their business models.

In order to accommodate peak-time operations, he recommended banks to upgrade their server, network, and hardware infrastructure. He added that doing so would guarantee that all electronic payment channels could process transactions quickly and effectively.

To ensure that all electronic payment channels are secure, safeguard consumer data, and guard against fraud, Ede encouraged the financial institutions to strengthen their security protocols.

He claims that in order to accept additional transactions, financial institutions may also need to expand their current payment systems. Ede noted that various organizations in the public and private sectors have benefited from PPC’s expertise in the implementation of high-end ICT and engineering infrastructure in developing secure, dependable, and scalable systems suitable for a variety of commercial uses.

With the use of the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) platforms over the past three weeks, it is true that it is not yet uhuru for Nigerians.

A USSD short code is required to access financial services including transfers, bill payments, and airtime recharges, among others, using USSD banking, an SMS-based mobile banking service.

Due to their inability to obtain cash over the counter in the banking halls, along with the fact that the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) refused to dispense cash and the Point of Sales (PoS) terminals are now a no-go area due to the exorbitant service charge by the merchants, many bank customers switched to the USSD platforms to conduct financial transactions.

It was learned that some USSD transactions, which might take up to 30 minutes to deliver, that seemed to have gone through on these platforms were later found to have failed.

Nigerians have trouble with a number of USSD numbers, including *966#, *894#, *737#, #*919#, and *711#. On these platforms, there have been several reports of failed transactions due to the ongoing cash shortage.

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