Firm Launches USSD Service to Enhance Access to Finance

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Carbon, the Pan-African digital financial services company, has introduced a USSD service to its platform, making it even easier for individuals that have little or no access to smartphones or the internet, to access the financial services they need such as instant loans and easy-to-use payments.

This new service will allow existing Carbon customers to access instant loans and other payment solutions via USSD without requiring internet data. Prior to the launch of the USSD channel, Carbon’s financial services were only available to smartphone users via its Android and iOS apps.

Carbon is also launching simplified transaction processes for the new USSD functionality, that are faster and easier to use. Using the USSD code *1303#, customers on MTN and 9mobile will now be able to quickly transact, encouraging more financial inclusion and making access to financial services possible in the absence of internet connectivity.

Despite being practically forgotten in many parts of the world, USSD continues to provide an effective and efficient channel for delivering much-needed financial services across Africa. Mobile phone penetration continues to rise on the continent, providing a platform for much-needed fintech innovation, but the high cost of internet data and the prevalence of feature phones means many are still excluded from the benefits of mainstream financial services, the company said in a statement.

The new USSD channel will deepen Carbon’s market reach, allowing it to deliver innovative financial services to a wider range of consumers and giving them easier, quicker access to the funds and services they require to fulfil their needs.

CEO and co-founder of Carbon, Chijioke Dozie, said: “One of the biggest selling points of USSD is that it works with or without the internet, which is reassuring in the African context where internet data is expensive and inconsistent. As fintech continues to develop across Africa, and ingrains itself into people’s everyday lives, it is important to invest and innovate across the ecosystem, ensuring that individuals are not excluded from the benefits of financial inclusion.”

Carbon’s new USSD channel will also enable airtime recharge and funds transfer for existing customers. Bill payments, loans and onboarding of new customers via USSD will be added to the platform very soon, Dozie said.