USSD stands for “Unstructured Supplementary Service Data” and is used to transmit information at low cost across a huge spectrum of mobile phones. Even the most basic of feature phones, with no internet access, can use USSD systems successfully.
The South African market is well acquainted with USSD as a communication system as it is frequently used to upload prepaid airtime and query cellphone account balances (among other things). South African banks offer USSD as an alternative to Internet and App Banking, as many South Africans do not have access to the internet. We have successfully used it as a competition entry mechanism, as it’s quick, simple, can authenticate the user based on cellphone number, and gathers a lot of user data in a short space of time. Depending on the business objectives, USSD is often used as an alternate system to a SMS Shortcode, as it’s a lot cheaper for the end user.