Amid CBN directive, BVN count now 60.492m–NIBSS

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The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement (NIBSS) has disclosed that the number of bank customers with registered Bank Verification Number (BVN) currently stands at 60.492 million.

This follows the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) instruction to terminate bank accounts that are not connected to BVN beginning March 2024.

In a circular signed by the CBN’s Director of Payment System Management, Mr Chibuzo Efobi, and Director of Financial Policy and Regulations, Mr Haruna Mustapha, all commercial, merchant, non-interest, and payment service banks, other financial institutions, and mobile money operators were informed that all individual existing and new tier 1, 2, and 3 accounts/wallets must have BVN or NIN.

Mustapha noted that the mandate was part of the apex bank’s effort in promoting financial system stability which has led to its amendment of Section 1.5.3 of the Regulatory Framework for BVN Operations and Watch-List for the Nigerian Banking Industry (Guidelines).

The CBN’s circular also specified that existing unfunded individual Tier 1 accounts without BVN or NIN would be placed on “Post No Debit or Credit” immediately.

“For all existing Tier 1 accounts/wallets without BVN or NIN: Effective immediately, any unfunded account/wallet shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ until the new process is satisfied.

Effective March 1, 2024, all funded accounts or wallets shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ and no further transactions permitted. The BVN or NIN attached to and/or associated with all accounts/wallets must be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024”, the circular read.

However, the NIBSS at the weekend, revealed that with the increasing incidents of compromise on conventional security systems (password and PIN), there is a high demand for greater security for access to sensitive or personal information in the banking system.

It also noted that the purpose of this directive is to use biometric information as a means of first identifying and verifying all individuals that have account(s) in any Nigerian bank and consequently, as a means of authenticating customer’s identity at point of transactions.

“To provide a uniform industrially accepted unique identity for bank customers to authenticate transactions without the use of cards using only biometric features and PIN Identification of blacklisted customers,” the bank said.