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Posted by on Wednesday December 2, 2015 at 12:21:53:

First Bank of Nigeria has a service that allows bank account holders to recharge their GSM airtime credit just by dialing a special Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) code. If you are a customer of First Bank in Nigeria, you can now buy airtime credit on your GSM phone by simply dialing *894*Amount#. If for instance you want to buy airtime credit worth N1000, then you can do so without leaving your home and as long as you have sufficient money in your bank account by dialing *894*500* from the phone that you've registered with your bank and that's probably the phone that receives SMS alerts for your transactions.

One of the benefits of this new airtime topup service by First bank is that it eliminates the need for paper which helps to reduce the cutting down of trees and hence it's a green initiative. We can make our world a better place by reducing the number of trees that are cut down because of our demand for paper. In the past, many Nigerians could only recharge their airtime balance by buying recharge cards printed on paper but nowadays, they no longer need to use paper thanks to First Bank's paperless airtime vending service.

There are now more and more banks in Nigeria that allow customers to buy airtime recharge without the need for entering a recharge or PIN code and without having to scratch any paper as all they need to do is dial a dedicated USSD code such as *894*Amount# which First bank is using.

The First time I tried this service, it was amazing and I got stuck to it. Before then I was buying recharge cards and alter on I started using Virtual Top UP on ATMs and later migrated to Airtime vending websites like Quickteller and my Internet banking but nowadays, I just dial *894*Amount# and I'm recharged.

Another benefit of this service by First bank apart from the fact that it saves paper is that it's less stressful as you no longer need to look for recharge card sellers in your area before loading airtime to your GSM phone

A third benefit of First Bank's USSD based airtime vending service is that you can do this anytime such as 24 hrs of the day and in whatever location you find yourself in. As long as there is a GSM network and you are within Nigeria, you can just dial the code and your balance will be credited with the amount you requested for. So, even when other people ares till looking for recharge card sellers to buy recharge cards, you can just do this from your hone or office and even while you sleep or watch TV.

A fourth benefit of this service is that it saves you from inflated price during times of scarcity. During Christmas or festive seasons in Nigeria or during a fuel scarcity, the prices of tangible items like recharge cards tend to increase as sellers tend to add their cost of business to items like this and a person may end up buying an airtime recharge card worth N1500 for N1600 just because of it's added cost but with the virtual top up service you can access with your phone, there are no added costs other than just N1 to N4 which is the cost of sending a request for airtime topup to your bank. So, it's basically cheaper in most cases than buying physical recharge cards from a local vendor.

There is a minimum and maximum load of N1000 and N3000 per day for security and probably efficiency reasons so you can't load N50, N100 or N5000 using this service as far as I know. This is okay given that Nigerian averagely don't spend more than N3000 or thereabout per day on just loading recharge cards or airtime credit.

If you have an account with First bank, you can try out this service and if yours is not working yet, just meed up with your bank and ask them to rectify it.

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