USSD codes are the preferred means of accessing mobile services since they work virtually on all kinds of phones. All mobile network operators have their own set of usually unique short codes such as those of Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom.
In recent times however, thanks in part to the high mobile penetration rates and the convenience spurred by the use of mobile money, more and more companies are by the day also making their services accessible through USSD codes.
This is most evident with banks and other financial institutions that now offer mobile banking services right from the palm of your hands. Other entities include bill payment services such as Mula, betting and lottery services and various government self-service portals.
As it’s to be expected the convenience provided by these third-party USSD codes usually comes at a cost. The subscriber is usually the one that incurs the charges though in some cases the USSD codes may be zero rated.
The cost usually varies from service to service and as such it’s important to know the charges before dialling the codes. Safaricom provides the means to do exactly this as detailed below.
Query Tariff Charge
Update: This service seems to be no longer active.
1. Dial *100# and enter 1 for My Account.
2. In the My Subscriptions menu, enter 6 for USSD Tariff Query.
3. Enter the code of the service you wish to inquire its charges. Type the code without the special characters [*, #)] E.g. 522 instead of *522#.
4. You should get a notification with the amount you’ll be charged every time you dial that code.
|Charge for KCB’s *522# USSD Code|
Most of the USSD codes I know of incur a charge of just one shilling. These includes most mobile banking services such as: KCB Bank’s *522#, Equity’s Eazzy Banking *247#, HF’s *231# etc.. Betting firms such as SportPesa’s *790# likewise result in a one shilling charge.
|Charge for MULA’s *369# USSD Code|
However, as previously stated some services don’t charge anything. Such is the case with Mula’s *369# Code that allows you to conveniently buy airtime for any network and pay your utility bills.