IE Unveils USSD Payment Channel

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Ikeja Electric has announced that consumers of its services can now pay their bills or vend energy through Unstructured Supplement Service Code, USSD.

“For the sake of clarity, USSD is a protocol used by GSM based mobile phones to communicate with the network operator’s computer. It is widely used for a variety of purposes, such as prepaid call-back service, location-based content service, WAP browsing and so on. Additionally, it is also used as a part of configuring the user’s handheld on the network.

“Unlike the SMS, the USSD establishes a connection in real-time between the parties involved, thereby enabling a two-way communication of information as long as the connection remains open”, it stated.

According to a statement, the solution offers electricity consumers the greatest convenience, in the comfort of their homes and offices as they would be able to pay bills or vend energy tokens irrespective of the type of phones they use.

Banks that have for now partnered with the electricity company towards the successful implementation of the innovative service in the power sector are Diamond, Ecobank, Fidelity, Skye, Stanbic, Sterling, Union, Unity, Wema and Zenith.

The company explained that two major things are to be considered before consumers subscribe to the service.

It said they should first confirm that their Bank Verification Number (BVN) is tied to the phone number being used.

The company advised that any subscriber that is not sure of the authenticity of the detail of his or her BVN as at the time of making payment can alternatively dial *565*0# on the phone. It added that if “BVN” is displayed, the payer can go ahead with the transaction.

On the other hand, if otherwise, the payer will be required to engage his or her Bank to update the BVN record with the phone number.

In the same vein, the company advised  that the payer should confirm that the same number is tied to the customer’s account at the bank. It explained that the customer can know this by confirming if the same number is used to receive SMS alerts from the bank. If further advised that on the contrary, the payer will be required to engage his or her Bank to update bank record with the phone number.

As conveyed by the statement made available by the electricity distribution company, First time users and returning users can always subscribe to the service by dialing *565*6*0013Meter/Account Number*Amount#.

Upon the completion of the foregoing steps, the payee can go ahead and select “Prepaid” or “Postpaid” option, then proceed to select bank from list (if multiple accounts) and input date of birth in the form which will appear in the format of “ddmmyy” or the last digits of debit card (ATM card) as requested by the preferred bank.

It added that the next stage in the process would require the payer to create a passcode, after which the transaction would be processed and feedback status would also be provided to the payer through a Short Message Service (SMS) that would be sent to the payer to notify him or her that the payment has been acknowledged.

In a similar vein, the electricity distribution company made another option available to its customers, and that entails dialing *565*6#. Select Electricity, select IKEDC, Select prepaid or postpaid option, Input Meter/Account Number, select bank from list (if multiple banks), select account (if multiple accounts0 Input Passcode. It assured that upon the completion of the foregoing stages that transaction would be processes and feedback on status would be provided to the payer. Finally, an SMS transaction notification would be received.

Source: IWIN

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