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Introduction
Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) (*99#) is a mobile banking service that allows customers to access the financial and non-financial services of the banks.

Agencies Concerned

  1. National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is the nodal agency of USSD
  2. USSD establishes a network between Banks and Telecom Service Providers (TSP)

About USSD


  • USSD technology is a GSM standard for transmitting information providing session-based communication in the banking services
  • Customer has to register their mobile number with their bank 
  • Customer access financial services by dialling *99# from their mobiles registered with their bank accounts
  • USSD works exclusively on all GSM handsets
  • USSD links the benefits of the telecommunication network to make financial and banking transactions easier.

USSD Features


  • No internet is required for its operations
  • Uses voice based connectivity
  • Very simple to use
  • Available to all GSM mobile users through a common code ‘*99#’ across all TSPs
  • No roaming charges charged in addition to the ordinary service
  • Works round the clock on all days including holidays
  • USSD will act as a key financial inclusion measure of GOI
  • Customer need not install any new apps to avail this service

USSD Services

USSD offers three main types of services to customers including
  1. Financial
  2. Non-Financial and 
  3. Value added services

Financial Services

Financial services include fund transfers in the means of 

  1. P2P – Person to Person
  2. P2A – Person to Account
  3. P2U – Person to UID

Non-Financial Services


  1. Mini Statement
  2. Balance Enquiry
  3. Know MMID
  4. Generate OTP
  5. MPIN

What is MMID?

MMID is the 7 digit code given by the bank to the user while registering for mobile banking
Value-added Services
Aadhar based money transaction (*99*99#)

How to use USSD?


  • Customer has to dial *99# from their mobile
  • Welcome screen appears
  • Customer has to enter their bank IFSC first 4 letters or short name of Bank in 3 letters
  • Various options pop up for the user
  • The user has to select the appropriate option and complete their transaction
  • For fund transactions or transfers using MMID and mobile number, both the sender and the receiver must have registered their mobile numbers in their banks
  • However, the receiver need not have to register their mobile numbers in their banks for receiving money using Aadhar number or account number from the sender.

Limitations


  • USSD is charged by TSPs from the customers 
  • A maximum rate of Rs. 1.50 per transaction is set by TRAI
  • This charge will form a major hindrance for common man to switch to USSD
  • RBI has initially set a restriction of transacting only 5000 rupees per transaction
  • NPCI must make this USSD totally free of cost to achieve the cashless economy as promised by Prime Minister Mr Modi.

Conclusion


  • USSD is a major initiative of NPCI to move towards a cashless economy like the USA
  • USSD enhances financial inclusion to a great extent
  • It helps India to move to digital revolution helping in ‘Digital India’ mission
  • Moving to a cashless economy will help curb black money, corruption etc
  • USSD is a positive step forward towards making India, a developed nation
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Don't need a smartphone or Android apps for make a digital payment. Yes *99# really cool.