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FirstBank’s *894# USSD Code Gains 99m Monthly Subscribers

FirstBank

July 14, (THEWILL) – As the banking business evolves, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has remained committed to empowering the Nigerian populace with the *894# Quick Banking service as part of its financial inclusion drive.

According  to the bank, the USSD service has increased the path to financial inclusion by breaking market barriers in different countries.

For Nigeria, the last three years have seen significant growth of the financial inclusion rate from 56.8% in 2016 to 63.2% in 2018. FirstBank’s *894# USSD banking service is playing a key role in it.

FirstBank’s *894# USSD banking initiative is already averaging about 99 million transactions monthly, with a naira worth of (N’m) 370,543 on these transactions.

This figure includes the undergraduate doing a mobile airtime recharge; the trader receiving a mobile payment from a customer; the IT person hurriedly buying a data bundle to keep business afloat; the anxious father paying his daughter’s hospital bills for treatment to commence, and the busy worker in Lagos transferring money to his parents in the village since he cannot get to a banking hall.

FirstBank declared  “a rough sampling of the financial transactions that amounted to over N3.6 trillion in transaction value on the *894# USSD banking service in 2020.

“There is practically no financial emergency that the USSD service does not come in. The problems that the *894# USSD service from First Bank of Nigeria Limited is solving is the only justification for the rapid traction it has gained since it was introduced in 2015.

“It is easy to see Nigerians trust and confidence in the USSD system, with the Bank rapidly growing from 9.5 million customers on the USSD feature to 12.26 million customers within the last year. Over 1.02 million of the figure, are customers who registered in the first 6 months of 2021.”

The first and perhaps the most attractive feature of USSD banking has got to be that it can be done from any kind of phone and without any form of internet connectivity. Although smartphones are getting more common, there is still a high poverty rate and many financially vulnerable people who cannot access internet banking.

The *894# USSD feature can be used across the four major GSM network operators in the country, even without accessed to internet connectivity.

Getting started, according to the bank, is as easy as dialling 8940#, and creating a pin. With that done, you can do airtime and data purchase for yourself and other parties, transfer funds to other accounts, make a BVN enquiry, check your account balance and get a mini statement.

For non-customers, the feature allows you to open a bank account in a couple of minutes without having to visit the banking hall. You can open a bank account, receive your account number immediately and start transactions on it right away. The claims of “instant banking, anytime, anywhere” can’t get more real than this.

“There is even an added security step, requesting a second-factor authentication (2FA) for transfers above N20,000 as a way to secure customers from being ripped off their funds. There is a cumulative maximum daily transfer limit of N100,000 to both FirstBank and other banks account.”

On how the USSD services  improve the lives of Nigerians, the Bank stated that “The data being generated through this service is sufficient to help the bank understand its current and prospective customers and develop products that suit them.

“Traders and small businesses can also get a Merchant ID which customers can use to make payments for products and services. This of course is better than having to send one’s account details to countless customers, even without knowing whether or not they are ready to make their purchase.

“Now, there is also a loan feature where salary earners can request a First Advance loan using the *894# USSD service to access cash if an emergency need arises before month-end.

“There is something about this USSD banking and the distinct advantage it offers when unforeseen emergencies arise, and they do arise more often than expected.”