Bank Verification Number (BVN) is a unique identification number (11 digits) issued to every bank customer and linked to every bank accounts that the customer has in all banks in Nigeria. The BVN was launched by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on February 14, 2014, in collaboration with the Banker’s Committee as a centralized biometric identification system for the Nigerian banking industry.
Purpose of BVN
The primary aim of creating a unique identification number for bank customers is to stem the increasing case of identity fraud in the banking industry. Other objectives of BVN includes:
- To use BVN information as a means of identifying and verifying all individuals that have account(s) in any Nigerian bank and as a means of authenticating customer’s identity at the 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
In other to ensure increased enrollment of bank customers, the bankers’ committee in its 11th retreat held in December 2018, classified BVN into 2 categories, the BVN Premium and BVN Lite. The BVN Premium covers bank customers that can provide the 18 basic requirements for a complete BVN enrolment while the BVN Lite will require minimal documentation like name and phone number for bank customers, especially those at the rural areas that do not meet the full requirements.
There are over 42.4 million customers that have been registered on the BVN platform since inception. The CBN however promised to increase the number of registered bank customers to 100 million by 2024.
Benefits of BVN
- BVN provides a unique identification that can be verified by all financial institutions.
- It protects the bank account of customers from unauthorized access
- It addresses the issue of identity theft, thus reduce exposure to fraud.
- The BVN enhances the Banking Industry chances of being able to fish out blacklisted customers
- Standardized efficiency of Banking operations.
Risks in disclosing you BVN
There have been reservations among bank customers about BVN fraud, how fraudsters can use a bank customer’s BVN to steal funds in the bank account of such customer. Nigerian Banker says disclosing your BVN to any person or group does not pose any threat to the funds in your bank account.
What every bank customer should however worry about is how fraudsters can use the personal information obtained as a result of the exposure of your BVN to trick you into volunteering sensitive information like your Bank Card details, ATM Pin, USSD, Mobile and Online Banking Passwords. Once you can keep these items safe, the funds in your bank account are saved.
Fraudsters in conjunction with greedy bank officials can commit BVN fraud by using your BVN to see and obtain all your Bio-Data and use it to trick you into disclosing those sensitive details. But once you have mastered the act of not disclosing them, your bank funds are saved.