Online payments have evolved over the years to become the order of the day, as more people are choosing e-payments over traditional bank deposits and withdrawals. From mobile bank apps to virtual banking, down to mobile money services, there are just a whole lot of trends to aid seamless mobile payments across the globe. 

 

 

One of such trends is the use of the USSD code (USSD banking). The USSD banking has become a go-to option for mobile payments, especially for people in rural settlements or just anyone who is out of internet connection but needs to make payments online. People can now shop, pay bills, get help and even send money online using special number codes, without the need for internet connections. 

 

 

This article answers the question to “What is USSD banking and how does it work, including its benefits, and the list of Nigerian banks’ USSD transfer codes for your convenience. Read along.

What is USSD Banking and How Does It Work? 

The acronym USSD stands for "unstructured supplementary service data," and it's a technology that has been around since the early '90s. It was developed by the GSM Association, the trade organization behind most of the world's cell phone standards.

 

 

USSD banking is an SMS-based mobile banking service, where a USSD shortcode is used to access financial services like transfers, bill payments, airtime recharges, etc. USSD banking is a safe, convenient, and cost-effective means of accessing financial services on your phone without the use of an internet connection. 

 

 

What makes USSD particularly appealing for financial services is its inclusivity - it reaches customers with older phones, non-smartphones, and those who don't have access to the internet through their cell service provider. Moreover, these customers make up the majority of the market (bank users) in developing countries, making it an invaluable resource for banks in those areas. Banks in Nigeria are not left out in the USSD hurdle as most traditional and digital banks have adopted personalized USSD codes to aid seamless financial services at all times. Thereby, creating room for more people to access financial services on the go without the hassles of using the internet. 

 

 

That said, let’s find out how the USSD codes work.

 

 

So, How Does The USSD Banking Work? 

To access USSD banking, a USSD shortcode is used to create a 2-way communication between the bank and the customer. The replies then come in a pop-up (Screen prompt) numbered menus and their ‘tied” service options to guide the user to the services that they need. To use the USSD code for any bank transaction, you would need to activate the code on your mobile phone, using your choice phone number. For most banks, you must have registered for a new account, or have an old bank account with them, before you can access those financial services. 

 

 

You would also need to set up a 4 or 5-digit transaction PIN to authorize all transactions. This PIN would also serve as a shield to prevent impersonators or fraudsters from accessing your account. However, just like every other security breach, your PIN can be compromised or changed if the person gets hold of your ATM card or other personal details. Therefore, you have to be careful with your card, personal details, and mobile phone at all times. It is also not advisable to store your PIN on your mobile phone or use a PIN that can be easily guessed, i.e, date of birth, house number, etc. 

 

 

Nonetheless, while this mode of mobile banking may have its shortcomings, USSD banking is unarguably beneficial to the user and bank as well. Below are some of the benefits of USSD banking: 
 

Benefits of USSD Banking 

 

  • Made-easy Account Opening: USSD banking offers convenience and comfort at little or no extra charges. You can open an account with USSD banking without hassles, so long as your mobile phone is connected to your network provider. You also do not need long paperwork or minimum balance to create a bank account. 
     
  • No Physical Bank Stress: Asides from periodic maintenance which may lead to service downtimes, USSD banking saves you stress and time. You don’t need to queue up at any bank to carry out transactions on your account, thereby, helping you save time for other important activities. 
     
  • Unlimited Access to Financial Services: Whether it is to pay bills, send money, or check your account balance, you can do all that and many more with USSD banking. And at any time you wish. 

 

  • No Internet Needed: Unlike internet banking and mobile banking which means additional costs on internet fees, the USSD banking provides a no-cost means of enjoying banking services on your mobile phone. All you need is a working mobile phone and you’re good to go. 


 

List of Nigerian Banks’ USSD Shortcodes

The table below includes different Nigerian Bank accounts and their respective shortcodes.

Access Bank*901#
ALAT Bank*945#
Ecobank*326#
FCMB *329#
Fidelity Bank*770#
First Bank*894#
GTBank*737#
Heritage Bank*745#
Keystone Bank*7111#
Polaris Bank*833#
Stanbic IBTC Bank*909#
Sterling Bank*822#
UBA*919#
Union Bank*826#
Unity Bank*7799#
Wema Bank*945#
Zenith Bank*966#


 

Different Nigerian Banks and Their Personalized USSD Transaction Codes

The following tables cover the 17 different Nigerian Banks and their personalized transaction codes. You can use these codes to make interbank and interbank transfers, pay bills, check account balances, block or unblock your ATM cards, update BVN, etc., With a few clicks on your phone. What's more? You don't even need internet connections to carry out any of these functions. Here's the list…

 

1. Access Bank USSD Codes (*901#)

 

Transaction Type                                                             USSD Code

Airtime Top-Up for Self*901*Amount#
Airtime Top-Up for Others*901*Amount*Phone Number#
Deactivate Account*901*911#
Pay bills*901*3#
Transfer to Other banks*901*2*AMOUNT*NUBAN Account Number#
Transfer to Access Account*901*1*AMOUNT*NUBAN Account Number#
Check Balance*901*00#
Account Opening/ PIN Change/Registration*901*0#


 

2. ALAT Bank USSD Codes (*945#)

 

 

Transaction Type                USSD Code

Airtime Top-Up for Others*945*phone Number*Amount#
Airtime Top-Up for Self*945*Amount#
Check balance*945*0#
Transfer to ALAT Account*945*Account Number*Amount#
Transfer to Other banks*945*Account Number*Amount#


 

3. Ecobank USSD Codes (*326#)
 

Transaction Type                USSD Code

Airtime Top-Up for Others*326*Amount*PhoneNumber#
Airtime Top-Up for Self*326*Amount#
Check balance*326*0#
Pay bills*326#
Transfer to Ecobank Account*326#
Transfer to Other banks*326#


 

4. Fidelity Bank USSD Codes (*770#)
 

Transaction Type                USSD Code

Airtime Top-Up for Others*770*PHONE*AMOUNT#
Airtime Top-Up for Self*770*AMOUNT#
ATM cardless withdrawal*770*8*AMOUNT#
Block Account from USSD Banking*770*08012345678#
Block Card*770*911#
Block Phone from USSD Banking*770*911*08012345678#
Change PIN*770*00#
Check balance*770*0#
Choose SMS and Email Alert*770*2#
Pay bills*770#
Transfer to Fidelity Account*770*ACCOUNT*AMOUNT#
Transfer to Other banks*770*ACCOUNT*AMOUNT#
Update BVN*770*02#


 

5. FCMB USSD Codes (*329#)

    

Transaction Type                USSD Code

Airtime Top-Up for Others*329*Amount*Mobile number#
Airtime Top-Up for Self*329*Amount#
Block USSD Profile or Bank Account*329*911#
Buy Data*329*1*Mobile Number#
Check balance*329*00#
Pay bills (DSTv/GOTv)329*2*Amount*Smartcard Number#
Pay Electricity Bill*329*3*Amount*Meter No# or *329*3*Amount*AccountID#
Reset PIN*329*0#
Transfer to FCMB Account/Other banks*329*Amount*Account number#


 

6. First Bank USSD Codes (*894#)
 

Transaction Type                USSD Code

Account Opening*894*0#
Airtime Recharge for Others*894*Amount*Phone Number#
Airtime Recharge for Self*894*Amount#
Check Balance*894*00#
Deactivate Your Mobile Number*894*911#
Mini-Statement*894*Account Number#
Register for USSD Banking*894*0
Transfer to First Bank/ Other bank Accounts*894*Amount*Account Number#


 

7. GTBank USSD Codes (*737#)

 

 

Transaction Type                USSD Code


 

Account Opening

*737*0#
Airtime Top-Up for Others*737*Amount*Recipient’s number#
Airtime Top-Up for Self*737*amount#
Check Account Number/ Check Balance/BVN*737*6*1#
Create PIN*737*5#
Data Top-Up*737*4#
Make Enquires*737*6#
Reactivate Account*737*11#
Transfer to GTBank Account*737*1*Amount*NUBAN Account Number#
Transfer to Other banks*737*2*Amount*NUBAN Account Number#


 

8. Heritage Bank USSD Codes (*745#)
 

Transaction Type                USSD Code

Airtime (Self)*745*Amount#
Airtime (Third Party)*745*Amount*MobileNumber#
Balance Enquiry *745*0#
Bet9ja Top-up *745*222*Bet9jaUserID*Amount#
Block Your Account from any phone *745*11#
Change USSD PIN *745*00#
Transfer to a Heritage Bank Account*745*1*Amount*AccountNumber#
Transfer to Other Banks*745*2*Amount*AccountNumber#
LCC Payment *745*000*522+etagNo+100#
Pay with USSD (on POS/Web) *745*000*RefCode#
USSD Registration With ATM Card *745*AccountNumber*Last6DigitOfCard#
USSD Registration Without ATM Card *745*AccountNumber#


 

9. Keystone Bank USSD Codes (*7111#)
 

Transaction Type                USSD Code

Activate Debit Card*7111*9*123#
Change your default Top-up Account: *7111*AcctNo#
Check account balance*7111*00#
Check balance*7111*1#
Mobile Data Top-Up*7111*5#
Panic Code (In case of theft/password compromise)*7111*911#
Pay bills*7111*2#
Recharge for others*7111*Amount*Phone Number#
Recharge your phone*7111*Amount#
Send Money*7111*Amount*Nuban Account Number#
USSD Registration*7111*0#


 

10. Polaris Bank USSD Codes (*833#)
 

Transaction Type                USSD Code

Airtime Top-Up for Others*833*AMOUNT*PHONENUMBER#
Airtime Top-Up for Self*833*AMOUNT#
Check balance*833*6#
Opening Account*833*1#
Pay bills*833*2#
Pay With MasterPass*833*7#
Transfer to Polaris Account/Others*833*AMOUNT*ACCOUNTNUMBER#
Update BVN*833*5#


 

11. Stanbic IBTC Bank USSD Codes (*909#)
 

Transaction Type                USSD Code

Airtime Top-Up for Others*909*Amount*phone number#
Airtime Top-Up for Self*909*Amount#
Check balance*909*1*1#
Transfer to Other banks*909*22*Amount*Account Number#
Transfer to Stanbic Account*909*11*Amount*Account Number#


 

12. Sterling Bank USSD Codes (*822#)
 

Transaction Type                USSD Code

Airtime Top-Up for Others*822*Amount*Phone Number#
Airtime Top-Up for Self*822*Amount#
Check Account Number*822*8#
Check balance*822*6#
Register for USSD Service822*1*NUBAN#
Transfer to Other banks*822*5*Amount*Account Number#
Transfer to Sterling Account*822*4*Amount*Account Number#


 

13. UBA USSD ShortCodes (*919#)
 

Transaction Type                USSD Code

Airtime Top-Up for Others*919* Phone number* Amount#
Airtime Top-Up for Self*919*Amount#
ATM cardless withdrawal*919*30*Amount#
Check balance*919*00#
Load UBA Prepaid Card*919*32#
Pay bills*919*5#
Transfer to Other banks*919*4*account number*amount#
Transfer to UBA Account*919*3*account number*amount#


 

14. Union Bank USSD Codes (*826#)
 

Transaction Type                USSD Code

Airtime Top-Up for Others*826*amount*recipient’s mobile no#
Airtime Top-Up for Self*826*amount#
Check balance*826#
Create PIN*826*5#
Register*826#
Transfer to Other banks*826*2*amount*account no#
Transfer to Union Account*826*1*amount*account no#


 

15. Unity Bank USSD Codes (*7799#)
 

Transaction Type                USSD Code

Balance inquiry*7799*0#
Bet9ja Wallet funding*7799*403*Bet9ja ID*amount#
Block account*7799*9*phone number#
BVN verification*7799*5#
Cardless withdrawal*7799*8*Amount#
Self recharge*7799*Amount#
Third-party Airtime Recharge*7799*Phoneno*amount#
Transfer to Other banks*7799*2*accountno*amount#
Transfer to Unitybank*7799*1*accountno*amount#
USSD on POS*7799*000*RefID#


 

16. Wema Bank USSD Codes (*945#)

 

 

Transaction Type                USSD Code

Airtime Top-Up for Others*945*phone Number*Amount#
Airtime Top-Up for Self*945*Amount#
Check balance*945*0#
Transfer to Other banks*945*Account Number*Amount#
Transfer to Wema Account*945*Account Number*Amount#


 

17. Zenith Bank USSD Codes (*966#)
 

Transaction Type                USSD Code

Airtime Top-Up for Self/Others*966*Amount*Mobile Number#
Block ATM Card*966*60#
Check balance*966*00#
Deactivate Account*966*911#
Deactivate Mobile Banking Profile*966*20*0#
Opening Account*966*0#
Other Self Service*966*60#
Pay bills (DSTv/PHCN)*966*7*Amount*Customer ID#
Pay Zenith Billers*966*6*Biller code*Amount#
Reset USSD Password/PIN*966*60#
Transfer to Zenith Account/Other Banks*966*Amount*Account Number#
Update BVN*966*BVN#


 

Conclusion

In the end, USSD banking is a simple and cost-effective way to handle your finances without going through bank stress or other intermediaries. You can use USSD codes to perform simple banking tasks from your mobile phone. You can make transfers, view account balances and even do something as complex as apply for a loan. Many banks, financial institutions, Government establishments and even healthcare offices have rapidly adopted USSD banking in the last few years, and the growth is expected to continue in the years to come.
 

Although there are some limitations to what USSD banking can do. However, the platform is safe, secure, and convenient. What's more, it is a great way to save money, time and effort when accessing your bank account whenever you need to. 
 

Thankfully, the list of Nigerian Bank USSD codes above will serve as a guide, so you know what codes or USSD commands to use whenever you need any of this services from your bank.