Short Code Messages Free Till Dec 31; To Cost Just 50 Paise After That
New Delhi: Telecom operators will make short code messages used for banking services free till December 31,
a move aimed at fueling cashless transactions following the government move to scrap high value notes of Rs 1000/500.
The development came soon after telecom regulator TRAI cut the charges to 50 paise, down from Rs 1.50.
"At present, a charge is being levied by telecom operators for mobile banking, which is commonly known as USSD charge," Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said in a tweet.
To facilitate use of electronic banking facility and reducing difficulty for the common man, telecom operators have decided to waive the charges for mobile banking services till December 31, 2016, he added.
"This move will help people with feature phones to access electronic banking facility without incurring any additional cost till December 31, 2016," he said.
The government is aggressively pushing consumers to adopt digital payment methods to bring in transparency and tide over the ongoing liquid cash crunch following the demonetisation of high value currency as crack down.
Short code messages are used by consumers to avail banking services like checking balance, withdrawals, deposits and peer-to-peer-transfer.
After the cut-off date, the short code text messages will be charged at a maximum of 50 paise, from the earlier Rs 1.50, as per today's notification by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
Industry players have been of the view that at Rs 1.50, the cost was steep and this inhibited the widespread adoption of mobile-based transactions, especially in rural areas that see high usage of feature phones.