India is gradually moving towards becoming a cashless economy, and the recent demonetization of old currency notes is serving as a catalyst in achieving PM Narendra Modi’s dream of Digital India. Banking with USSD Codes have become more than essential.
We are also working on another post with the list of USSD Codes for all Networks – Vodafone, Airtel, Aircel, BSNL, Idea, Reliance Jio and Docomo USSD code.
With the ongoing cash crunch due to shortage of new currency notes, a lot of smartphone users have already moved to digital wallets for paying at food courts, fast-food outlets and petrol pumps, or for making landline and electricity bill payments, mobile, DTH and data card refill, and more. UPI-based apps have also started getting traction where customers can easily pay for services, send and receive funds using their smartphone. But what about people, especially in rural areas, who don’t own a smartphone, nor have access to the internet? Well, USSD-based mobile banking has got them covered.
It’s not just about non-smartphone users. There are times when we don’t have access to internet, and this is exactly when USSD-based mobile banking can be a savior. Here, USSD is the abbreviation for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data. The Interface is built by National Unified USSD Platform (NUUP), and your bank and telecom operator are parties between whom the USSD communication takes place. The technology uses GSM network channels to transmit information. Essentially, it will work on a basic phone with black-and-white display, a feature phone and on smartphones.
Regional language support in USSD mobile banking
The service aims to make mobile banking easier for rural users, especially the non-English speaking ones. It is available in 11 regional languages and can be accessed in the desired language using the following short codes.
- English (*99#)
- Hindi (*99*22#)
- Tamil (*99*23#)
- Telugu (*99*24#)
- Malayalam (*99*25#)
- Kannada (*99*26#)
- Gujarati (*99*27#)
- Marathi (*99*28#)
- Bengali (*99*29#)
- Punjabi (*99*30#)
- Assamese (*99*31#)
- Oriya (*99*32#)
USSD banking daily transaction limit and charges
According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the USSD payment method can be used for sending money as low as Re 1, and as much as Rs 5,000 per transaction. Coming to charges, you will be charged Rs 0.50 per transaction, which will be added in your mobile bill. The service works 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. However, carriers have waived off the transaction charges till December 31.
Getting started with USSD banking
First and foremost, you need a phone, a bank account and your mobile number registered for mobile banking. In case your phone number isn’t registered with your bank, you’ll have to visit the branch and fill-up a form to register and link it with your bank account. Once that is done, you’ll have to generate Mobile Money Identifier (MMID) number. It is a random seven-digit number issued by the bank. The MMID is usually sent to you by the bank after you register for mobile banking.
You can also retrieve the MMID by sending an SMS, or by logging into your bank’s internet banking portal. However, the number for sending an SMS differs from one bank-to-the other, and so do the options on internet banking portals. I’d recommend giving a call to your bank’s customer care service as ask them for MMID. Along with the MMID, you’ll also need the MPIN (a four-digit code to authorize transitions). Once you get the default MPIN, you’ll have to change it to any four digits of your choice (more on that below).
How to use USSD codes
To begin with, open the dialer app on your phone, type *99# and dial. In case you want to menu’s in regional language, say in Hindi or in Gujarati, you need to dial *99*22# or *99*27#, respectively.
You will see the welcome screen after which you will have to enter first three letters, or IFSC code or 2-digit bank code followed by send.
For State Bank of India (SBI), the three letters will be SBI, for ICICI Bank it will be ICI, whereas for HDFC Bank it will be HDF, and so on. In case of IFSC code, State Bank of India has SBIN, ICICI Bank has ICIC, HDFC Bank has HDFC and so on.
So, if you have your mobile banking registered with ICICI Bank, type ICI or ICICI and tap send.
It will verify your phone number and bank details, and open bring up the sub-menu. Here, you will have options to check your account balance, check mini statement, or send money using MMID or IFSC. There is also an option to change the default MPIN that you get from the bank.
If you want to check your account balance, enter ‘1’ in numerical and tap send, similarly for mini statement, enter ‘2’ and tap send.
How to transfer money using USSD short codes
Step 1: Dial *99#, type bank name, and when the interface opens, enter ‘3’ and tap send.
Step 2: Enter beneficiary mobile number.
Step 3: Enter beneficiary MMID, which you will have to get from the person you are sending money to.
Step 4: Next, you need to enter amount and remarks (separated by space).
Step 5: In the final step, you have to enter your MPIN to authorize the transaction and last 4 digits of your account number (separated by space), and tap on send. That’s it, once your transaction is authorized, the money will be instantly credited to the recipients account.
UPI now available offline via USSD-based mobile banking
Now you can make UPI transactions without internet connection using USSD. NPCI has now updated the USSD platform with UPI integration.
In order to make UPI payments offline, you’ll first need to download the BHIM app on your smartphone and complete the registration process. Once the SIM card and smartphone binding is done with your bank account, you can use the BHIM app to make UPI transactions, and when internet isn’t available, you can use USSD-based mobile banking. Now let’s take a look at what all you can do with the new USSD platform.
Upon dialing *99#, you have the welcome screen with seven options – send money, request money, check balance, my profile, pending requests, transactions and UPI PIN. Upon choosing the send money option – you can send money to the recipient by either entering their mobile number, Virtual Payment Address (VPA), choose from already saved beneficiaries, using IFSC code and account number, or via MMID and mobile number.