TRAI has come out with a consultation paper to identify and address issues related to poor uptake of unstructured supplementary service data (USSD)-based mobile banking services in the country. TRAI had in 2013 come out with guidelines and rates on USSD-based mobile banking services. The regulator had prescribed ceiling rate for an outgoing USSD-based mobile banking service as Rs. 1.50 per USSD session. The expansion of banking and reach of financial services are vital for the long-term sustainable development of any country. From the standpoint of equity, financial services need to be provided at an affordable cost to those who are currently excluded from the formal financial system. With close to 225 million Jan Dhan accounts, around one billion Aadhaar cards, and one billion mobile connections in the country (450 million in rural areas), it was expected the USSD-based mobile banking service would gain popularity among the unbanked and under-banked population.
Even after two years since August 2014, when it became available to all GSM subscribers in the country, the progress of USSD-based mobile banking has not gained traction. In order to identify and address various issues for the use of USSD-based mobile financial services, the Authority has issued the consultation paper.