According to data from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc, the total number of issued Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) in Nigeria has reached 57.96 million as of July 3, 2023. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced plans to close bank accounts that are not linked to BVNs, citing the need for enhanced security and protection against fraud.
The BVN system provides a unique identification for customers across all Nigerian banks, offering a secure and reliable means of authentication. It helps address issues of identity theft and reduces the risk of unauthorized access to bank accounts. Additionally, BVN serves as an acceptable form of identification in all Nigerian banks, promoting a safe and efficient payments system.
In line with its efforts to combat fraud and improve the integrity of the financial sector, the CBN has identified accounts without BVNs and aims to remove them from the system. A recent report revealed that Nigerian bank customers lost N472 million to fraud in the first quarter of 2023, highlighting the urgency to address fraudulent activities.
The CBN’s Financial Stability June 2022 report indicated that out of 148.46 million active customer accounts, 130.57 million accounts were linked to BVNs. The report also highlighted the presence of watch-listed BVNs associated with fraudulent transactions and deceased persons, indicating the CBN’s vigilance in monitoring and addressing potential risks.
Opinion: The widespread adoption of Bank Verification Numbers in Nigeria is a positive step towards strengthening the security and integrity of the banking system. By linking accounts to BVNs, customers’ identities are better protected, reducing the risk of fraud and unauthorized access. The CBN’s efforts to close unlinked accounts and monitor fraudulent transactions demonstrate its commitment to maintaining a safe and reliable financial ecosystem in the country.