The reduction in cost is expected to bring about financial inclusion in rural areas
Taru Bhatia | November 22, 2016
In order to promote digital transactions through the USSD channel, the telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI) has waived off the transaction cost from Rs 1.50 to Rs 0.5 paisa per session.
The new rates will be effective from January 1.
Currently, per session on USSD channel includes five stages of transactions. As per the revised guidelines by TRAI, number of stages per session has increased to eight.
The reduction in cost will bring about financial inclusion in rural areas and will make cashless transactions a desirable option for feature phone-users, said RS Sharma, chairman, TRAI on Tuesday.
According to TRAI, India has more that 65 percent of feature phone in India. In October, volume of transactions via USSD channel was Rs 84 lakh.
The volume is very low for such a large number of people using feature phones, Sharma said.
The authority is expecting the volume to increase 10 times after reduction in transaction charge.
Sharma also mentioned that new rates are applied on both retail transactions as well as banking services like checking balance, withdrawal, deposits and peer-to-peer transfer.
Moreover, the chairman noted that failed transaction is also one of the key reasons that discourage poor citizens to use this channel, as they get charged for each failed transactions.
Therefore, TRAI has consulted National Payments Corporation of India to look into the causes behind the failed transactions.
NPCI has agreed to create a task force to look into the cause and see whether optimisation can be done to improve users' experience and convenience, Sharma said, adding that 54 percent of transactions are failing on this channel.
TRAI is also consulting RBI on whether software design of USSD can be simplified for merchants for receiving payment via this medium.
One of the optimisation that can be done, the chairman suggested, is by allowing feature phone users to save the account details like IFSC code and account number to transfer money, like in net banking user can save the payee's details.
Presently, user transferring money through USSD channel has to re-enter payee's details every time while making a transaction.
Digital payment and financial inclusion through USSD can be achieved by gaining the confidence of users, making it user friendly and by reducing the cost, Sharma added.
As the city of Mumbai went into the lockdown in March 2020, those who were on permanent dialysis and caught Covid infection or suspected to have been infected were badly in need of dialysis treatment. At the same time a large number of patients who were already in dialysis centres started contracti
The Tamil Nadu government has announced the `Economic Advisory Council` to the Chief Minister comprising Nobel laureates, Raghuram Rajan, former governor of Reserve Bank of India and various other economic experts from around the globe to advise the state on how to reverse the economic slowdown. The state
All 15 Kashmir Valley Railway Stations, including Srinagar, have now got integrated with 6021 Station Wi-Fi Network of Indian Railways. Public Wi-Fi, provided under the brand name of RailWire, is available at 15 stations such as Baramula, Hamre, Pattan, Maz
The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi launched the ‘WHO M-Yoga’ App while addressing the occasion of the 7th International Day of Yoga. M-Yoga app will provide many videos of Yoga training and practice based on common Yoga protocol in many languages. Terming th
With technology evolving every day, it provides filmmakers ideas to get more creative and an edge to tell more stories. India currently has about 40 OTT platforms and the number is increasing by the day. With cinema halls shut during the pandemic-induced lockdown, people turned to OTT platforms in a big wa
HelpAge India Report 2021, ‘The Silent Tormentor: Covid 19 & the Elderly’, assesses the impact and challenges of the pandemic on lives of elderly living in households (informal settings) and old-age homes (informal settings). It unravels some deep-seated fears of the country’s elderly