Empowering Mobile

Banking for all

Even in the age of smartphones, low-tech solutions such as USSD and SMS remain critical banking channels for many.

According to the GSMA (‘Mobile Economy 2020, Sub Sahara Africa’) by the end of 2018, smartphones accounted for 39% of total connections in the region and is expected to increase to 66% by 2025. This means that feature phones are still widely used. Lack of data coverage, which may also be costly to access where it is available, means feature phones will remain relevant for a significant portion of the population for some time. Reaching this significant market requires easily accessible and cost-effective technologies. Low-tech message based technologies such as SMS and USSD remain extremely relevant and critical for banks to utilise as mobile banking channels.

The Power of USSD

USSD enables banks to reach new customers, reduce costs, offer convenience and increase revenue.

Traditional banking channels are difficult to serve the underbanked communities where there is limited access to branch, internet and app-based services. According to the Global Findex Report, close to one-third of adults – 1.7 billion – are still unbanked. The deployment of a USSD based mobile banking solution targets this sector in a low-cost and highly effective way. With all mobile phones supporting USSD, it requires no client software and offers blanket coverage of the population. USSD is a tool that enables banks to:

  • Reach new customers in underbanked communities
  • Reduce costs with a highly cost effective banking channel
  • Offer customer convenience with real-time data available
  • Directly generate fees and indirectly drive usage of other transactions and services from the bank
  • Offer a range of services including person-to-person payments, cardless ATM access via the mobile phone, card on/off services and remittances.

Interactively Query and Transact

  • A USSD session is initiated by entering a short code on their phone
  • The USSD short code usually starts with * and is terminated with #
  • USSD menu presents a commands such as Balance and Payments for the customer to choose from
  • All mobile phones support USSD
  • Request account balance
  • Request last number of transactions
  • Request all account balances
  • Transfer between own accounts
  • Pay utility bills
  • Pay third parties
  • Request a paper statement

The BankWorld platform enables banks to create new services, for example:

  • Allowing the customer to register interest in a product offering
  • Request a meeting
  • Apply for a loan or overdraft

Powered by BankWorld Digital Banking Platform

BankWorld USSD is underpinned by a powerful Digital Banking Platform – BankWorld – that enables banks to offer banking services across the most critical and relevant banking channels today.