The value of transactions made through the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) channel between January 1 and 11 crossed the aggregate value transacted in December, according to data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
At R10.48 crore, the amount for the first 11 days of January was marginally higher than R10.37 crore worth of transactions carried out through USSD in the whole
A total of 98,768 USSD transactions were made between January 1 and 11, as against 1,02,300 transactions made through the whole of December. This means the average ticket size for USSD transactions so far in January was around R1,061, marginally higher than R1,013 for December.
One of the reasons for the surge in transactions was the sudden withdrawal of legal tender on currency notes of R500 and R1,000 on November 8. The recall of 86% of bank notes in circulation resulted in a cash crunch, which forced a number of people to make transactions using digital channels, including UPI.
The USSD channel is an SMS-driven payments service meant for those using basic cellphones, also known as feature phones, and lacking access to the internet.
Apart from carrying out financial transactions, USSD can also be used for availing of non-financial services, such as balance inquiry, mini-statement for the last five transactions, queries related to Aadhaar seeding and overdraft account.
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Earlier this month, AP Hota, managing director and CEO of the National Payments Corporation of India, which administers USSD, had told FE that prior to demonetisation, a majority of USSD transactions were of non-financial nature. That has changed, with the balance tilting in favour of money transfers after November 8, he had said.
Since December 2, the central bank has been releasing data related to electronic payments on a daily basis, with a day’s lag.