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#Finance

Mobile & USSD-Based Transaction Charges Getting Significant Slash

Phone showing EcoCash USSD menu
   

Today, POTRAZ made some announcements at their Long-Term Average Incremental Cost (LRIC) and one of the most interesting was the 60% slash on out-of-bundle tariffs.

Another major change to look forward to is the slashing of costs per USSD session for banking cost.

The USSD Charges threshold shall be reduced from the current 12.5c a session to 5c per session exclusive of all taxes. This is meant to address the high transaction cost of e-payments and increase financial inclusion. To ensure that this reduction benefits the transacting public, the Authority has engaged the RBZ who will engage Financial Service Providers so that the reduction is passed on to the transacting public.

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What does this mean for consumers?

Before this change, customers were being charged around 15c (including tax) for every mobile transaction made through USSD (or mobile banking apps) but now that the charges have been reduced and those charges will drop significantly even though it’s not as clear what exactly the final fees will be since banks also have to drop their transaction fees as well before the benefits can be seen.

For the longest of times, we have been complaining about how expensive mobile transactions are, so it’s a good thing that POTRAZ has finally intervened to lower these fees.

As made clear in the above statement, POTRAZ has already ‘engaged’ RBZ in order to make sure that banks also reduce their costs.

Will banks oblige?

One would hope they will actually decrease their transaction. Because the banks themselves were passing these charges on to us and now that these charges have been lowered they will also probably have leeway to also lower these charges which is why POTRAZ has engaged RBZ. The banks are lowering their costs because they are now paying less to access USSD, so it would only make sense for them to also lower transaction fees so that consumers can actually feel the benefit of this change.


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