Banks reconnect MTN subscribers to banking channels


Commercial banks in the country have reconnected MTN customers to banking channels after a 48-hour blackout.

MTN customers were disconnected from banking channels including the unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) and banking apps.

The reconnection followed intervention of the minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Pantami, and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Godwin Emefiele.

The blockade occurred when MTN reduced the banks’ commission from an average of 3.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent. The banks had written MTN to revert to the old commission, otherwise, they would block MTN airtime in all their channels.

The banks, except Zenith Bank which was connected directly to MTN, subsequently blocked MTN from their banking channels, leaving millions of customers stranded as they were unable to recharge virtually.

PUNCH reported that MTN quickly reached out to fintech companies such as Flutterwave, Jumia Pay, OPay, Kuda, Carbon and BillsnPay for customers to recharge their phones.

However, in a letter dated April 3, MTN agreed that the banks revert to the status quo 4.5% commission while a meeting for the reduction of the charges will hold on Tuesday.

The letter was signed by MTN CEO Karl Toriola and was addressed to the chairman of body of banks’ CEOs Herbert Wigwe.

“In an attempt to resolve the current USSD recharge impasse, given the intervention from our regulators, we hereby agree that the banks revert to the status quo of 4.5% commission.

“However, the banks and MTN Communications Nigeria Plc shall sit to agree on various options that will result in the reduction in the costs on 6th of April 2021,” the letter read.