‘Do not take any charge from the user for a one-time message’ – TRAI proposes to mobile banking and payment services
telecom regulator Try (TRAI) on Wednesday to promote digital transactions mobile banking and proposes to do away with the charges for USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) messages that are displayed on mobile screens for paid services. The USSD message is displayed on the screen of the mobile phone and is not ‘stored’ in the phone like SMS. This technology is widely used in mobile phone conversations or SMS messages after deducting money or asking for phone recharge and other information from the concerned telecom company. At present, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has fixed the price for the USSD session at 50 paise. Each session can be completed in eight phases.
A high-level committee constituted by the Reserve Bank of India has given this suggestion to promote digital payments. Its objective is to encourage digitization and increase financial inclusion. The Department of Financial Services (DFS) also agreed with the recommendations of the committee.
TRAI said in a statement that following the request of the Department of Financial Services to the Department of Telecom in this regard, the regulator has analyzed various aspects of the matter. TRAI believes that rationalization of USSD charges is necessary to protect the interests of USSD users and promote digital financial inclusion.
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“Accordingly, the Authority has proposed zero fee per USSD session for USSD-based mobile banking and payment services,” the regulator said. In this, other things related to USSD have been retained as before.
According to the statement, the current fee structure per USSD session for mobile banking is several times higher than the rate of one minute ‘voice call’ or one SMS. TRAI said, “There is a need to rationalize the rates for increasing the number of USSD transactions in view of the reduction in charges for other services.” The regulator has sought suggestions from various stakeholders on the draft proposal by December 8.
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