In a bid to promote use of Mobile Banking Services across India, TRAI has come out with new Guidelines and Tariff on Unstructured Supplementary Service Data known as USSD -based mobile banking services.
Telecom regulator TRAI has prescribed that ceiling tariff for an outgoing USSD-based mobile banking service shall be Rs.1.50 per USSD session. All mobile service providers should facilitate not only the banks, but also the authorized agents of banks to use SMS, USSD and IVR (Interactive Voice Response) to provide banking services to bank customers.
With the implementation of new norms, the number of stages for completion of mobile banking transaction has been increased fro two to five.
According to TRAI, large number of mobile subscribers in rural areas do not have access to banking facilities presents an opportunity for leveraging the mobile telephone to achieve the goal of financial inclusion with easy mobile banking.
The sector regulator also said unlike SMSs, USSD messages create a real-time connection during a USSD session. The connection remains open, allowing a two-way exchange of a sequence of data making USSD more responsive than services that use SMS.
USSD technology is most secured and easy to use tools, used by mobile service providers to send alerts or info to their users and also for providing instant subscription or activation of services. It can be used for prepaid call-back service, location-based content services and menu-based information services.
At present in India, Some banks such as State Bank of India (SBI) and ICICI Bank have already launched USSD-based mobile banking services.