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How To Deploy A USSD App In 5 Minutes Without Coding
How To Deploy A USSD App In 5 Minutes Without Coding
Written by Stephany Pagliaccia
Updated over a week ago


USSD remains one of the most common interfaces offered by telecom communication providers globally. According to the IFC, the inability to use cash during the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the use of USSD by the financially excluded.

Within Kenya, various financial institutions have incorporated mobile phone services and technology in service delivery to improve efficiency and reduce the time spent carrying out basic transactions.

The Kenya Mobile Money Market: Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity, and Forecast 2021-2026 report, shows that a majority of Kenyans still prefer using traditional tools and applications such as USSD for their daily and important transactions

USSD is the acronym for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, is a service that allows users with feature phone or smartphone devices to access services by dialing into a code e.g. *144#.

The technology creates a safe and instant way to verify customer details and allow access to their accounts. Unlike SMS and mobile apps, USSD notifications and menus are not stored on the device, making it safer to transmit passwords or other sensitive information.

What use cases can USSD help your business to meet?

The service was first introduced by telecom providers to make their services such as; buying airtime or data bundles, checking airtime, data bundle balance, help desk, etc.

Over time, USSD has featured in use cases across different economic sectors such as fintech, health-tech, agri-tech, betting, banking, and e-commerce.

Here are some existing use cases that your business can leverage on the dynamism of USSD logic and enrich how you share information with your customers, thereby enhancing service deliverability.

  1. Fintech solution - USSD can be used to run mobile banking activities over mobile such as; allowing customers to initiate banking activities such as registration of accounts, withdrawal or transfer of funds, etc.

  2. Payments - Utility companies can enable customers to dial into the USSD code, and a customer can request their bill and remit payments for utilities or insurance.

  3. E-marketplace - customers can dial into the USSD code, make orders for products, and then receive a payment prompt to complete the process.

  4. Customer service - the solution can allow you to set up a support application that helps you provide support and a great customer experience for your customers without them needing to speak to an actual customer service agent.

  5. Security and verification - run security activities, by allowing customers to dial into a USSD code to request access codes or a one-time password to access services that require authentication.

  6. Data collection - organizations can use the USSD channel to collect data through quick surveys targeting large audiences in an easy and scalable manner.

  7. Logistic - Transport companies can allow customers to dial their USSD code and request a taxi or even book a trip.

The problem

Even though USSD provides an unlimited number of opportunities for businesses to offer their services, they face various challenges that hinder them from assimilating this technology.

The three main factors affecting them are:

  • Access to the technology: Most businesses that would benefit from the solution, do not have the necessary technical expertise needed to build USSD applications. The market lacks technical partners who would assist them to build their solutions, while they focus on getting the service over the channel to their customers.

  • Cost: Large enterprises would be able to easily invest in the technical resources required. SME businesses may not be in the same position to set aside a significant budget to invest in the technical resources and manpower that would be needed to set up and maintain the solution.

  • Time: Building their USSD solutions, integrating with the necessary MNOs to launch the service, as well as, implementing any changes to the USSD application results in lengthy deployment timelines which could negatively impact service delivery.

Introducing Mteja’s USSD solution

Mteja is a cloud telephony solutions provider, enabling businesses of any size to engage with their customers at scale over mobile channels like IVR, SMS, and Airtime services.

Mteja now offers a simple platform for users to design and deploy complex USSD applications, with zero technical knowledge required. We have abstracted away the complexities associated with building USSD applications, offering the ideal USSD solution for any business looking to launch any service quickly over USSD without investing in any technical resources.

Benefits of using Mteja’s USSD solution

  • Fast setup - the platform allows users to launch any USSD application easily using the flows feature.

  • Time-saving - reduced go-to-market timelines as the service deployment happens within minutes.

  • Integrations - the Mteja platform offers various APIs that can integrate with other business applications and run a seamless end-to-end service.

  • Real-time analytics - get invaluable insights into trends and patterns in your customer engagements.

  • Scalability - no throughput limitations affect the USSD channel, allowing it to process as many customer sessions at any time. A guarantee that the service can serve your business effectively regardless of the audience size.

  • Easy configuration - any changes to the USSD menu are implementable in real-time, without requiring you to take the service offline to your customers because the process requires no coding or infrastructure changes.

How to set up a fintech product using Mteja’s USSD solution

ABC bank would like to introduce its lending services to customers by allowing them to access them by dialing into the USSD code to register for the service and request a loan.

Using Mteja’s USSD solution, ABC bank can roll out the solution in the following steps.

1. Design the USSD menu for the application

Mteja provides a flows feature that would allow ABC to visually set up the USSD logic process, for their USSD lending application. ABC would be able to design various customer menus, for instance, a registration menu that will guide customers to sign up for the service, a menu to allow them to request a loan, etc.

Here is a look at how the user will design the USSD menu using Mteja’s flow visual builder.

2. Integrate with their banking systems and databases (web query, notification API)

The portal has integration capabilities to allow the USSD application to integrate with ABC banking systems. The integration will facilitate activities such as enabling data submission for verification to execute the customer requests received on the USSD service.

Mteja platform offers two types of integrations:

a) Web query API allows for querying and confirmation during a business process. For instance, when the customer requests a loan over the USSD application, the application can send the request to query the bank systems to confirm that the customer has registered for the service before this can be completed.

b) USSD log notification API enables the outcome of conversations over USSD to be delivered to any external platform. For instance, when a customer signs up for the service, this information will be transmitted from the USSD application to the banking system to create the customer's profile.

The sample shows the information sent over the API from the USSD application to the banking system.

3. Deploy the USSD service

Once the client has completed the design and integration and has tested the service, the next step is to link the application to the USSD code which is a one-step process.

See the image below showing how USSD applications are set live by clicking UPDATE the process is complete.

4. Reporting and Analytics

ABC bank can view and track key business metrics as they run the conversations over the USSD application over a user interface on the Mteja platform.

Admins will have access to the following reports and analytics:

a) USSD logs: The dashboard contains the raw data of customers that dialed into ABC bank’s USSD code and the user inputs received based on their actions. This data is available to export as editable CSV files for further review. The sample image below shows a record of USSD logs:

b) Insights: The data shows what activities have taken place on the USSD application, in summary, using visual tools for straightforward interpretation. The sample images below show the USSD activity over time.

c) Customer analytics: The dashboard shows ABC bank the customer trends within their customer data, for both numerical and non-numerical data.

The sample image shows the trends of the location where customers have registered for the service.

d) Customer segmentation: the dashboard would allow ABC to divide their customers into segments based on common characteristics – such as demographics or behaviours. The data can assist the bank to develop data-driven strategies to better market to these customers.

The sample image shows the results of customers who are 18 years of age.


USSD applications are easily accessible by people with both smartphones and basic feature phones allowing businesses to reach a wider audience. It is an inclusive engagement mobile channel that ensures customers can access your services as easy as *123#.

To get started on this journey, email and we’ll be happy to guide you on the next step.

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