A Bank Verification Number commonly called BVN is a biometric identification system implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria in order to ease the opening of bank accounts in Nigeria and to easily track and stop illegal banking transactions in Nigeria.
The bank verification measure ( the BVN system) put in place by the central bank of Nigeria,stipulates that every bank account holder or any person who wish to open a bank account with any bank in Nigeria, must first of all obtain a unique biometric verification number from any of the banks in Nigeria. Its this BVN that makes it possible for any person in Nigeria to open a bank account with any bank in nigeria. Those who already owned a bank account before the implementation of the BVN system, are expected to obtain a BVN and link their BVN to their existing bank account or else their accounts will be blocked.
How to obtain a BVN.
The enrollment process is very simple. Just walk up to the bank where you have an account or intend to open an account. Your finger prints and facial features will be captured through biometric technology. After that, you will also be expected to fill a BVN form. After you have done that, your BVN will automatically be generated and sent to you by Email or SMS within 24 hours .After some few days the bank will also contact you, informing you to come and pick up your BVN card.
A BVN card is just a small card (that resembles a credit card) with your unique 11 digit BVN code written on it. Please take note that a BVN card is not a credit card. Its just a Bank ID that you can use to identify yourself accross the banks in Nigeria. Once you have obtained a BVN card (your banking ID), you can go to any bank to open an account without you providing any identification documents but just your BVN card.
How has BVN ease the opening of bank accounts in Nigeria.
After you have gotten your BVN; which is just like your universal banking ID (issued by the central bank of Nigeria), you are free to walk in to any bank of Nigeria to open an account without you providing any identification documents. All you need to do in order to open a bank account with any bank in Nigeria is to present your (BVN card or just the BVN code) to the bank you wish to open a bank account with. The bank will then use your unique BVN to retrieve your credentials from the central BVN database and open an account for you with that credentials. So no passport size photo and other identification documents needed.
Due to the implementation of BVN in Nigeria, its now very possible to open a bank account with almost any bank in Nigeria online (right in your living room). After you have gotten a BVN, its needless going to bank to open an account. You just need to go to the internet banking website of the bank you wish to open an account with and fill their account registration form. Ofcourse you will also be expected to enter your unique BVN code for verification.
Its very possible to open an account online because its assumed that anybody with a BVN must have already gone through the strict Biometric verification process and so no ,need for paperwork anymore. So you can lie on your couch and open an account with UBA online. This explains why almost every bank in Nigeria now offers internet banking service.
If BVNs were universally recongnised worldwide, it would have also been possible for you to sit in your house in Nigeria and open a bank account with a bank in USA.
How BVN will help reduce illegal banking transactions in Nigeria.
Since there,s only one central database of BVNs jointly managed by all the banks in Nigeria (like a BVN network), its now very posible for the banks in Nigeria to implement sanctions that will immediately take effect accross the other banks in Nigeria. Lets take for example that a bank account of a fraudster was blocked in UBA, that info will immediately propagate accross the BVN network to other bank accounts (in other banks) that the fraudster’s BVN is linked to, leading to the freezing of all his accounts simultaneously. Isn,t that wonderful?.
Through the help of BVNs, its now very easy to check the number of bank accounts owned by a particular person since an individual’s BVN is often linked to all his bank accounts and every Nigerian is permitted to have just one BVN throughout his or her life spand.
This will be helpful to EFCC in the tracking of embezzlers who often embezzle millions of naira and deposite it into different accounts to avoid suspicion.
BVN will also enable the banks in Nigeria to easily check the banking history of their clients. For example if an an individual wants to borrow money from a bank, the bank can easily check the banking history of that individual to determine whether the individual will be able to pay back the debt and on time. BVN enables the banks in Nigeria to easily keep track of an individuals bank statements accross all the banks in Nigeria (where he or she also has an account). So through BVNs, banks can easily track all the bank accounts owned by a particular individual and look up their banking history.
Important facts about BVN to memorize.
- Every person in Nigeria is expected to obtain a unique biometric verification Number (BVN) in order to be eligible to open a bank account with any bank in Nigeria. Its a security mechanism put forward by the central bank of Nigeria in 2015. Those who already had a bank account before the implementation of BVN (october,2015), are expected to obtain a BVN and link it to their existing bank account or else their accounts will be blocked till the compulsury Biometric verification requirement is met.
- No bank in Nigeria is allowed to open a bank account for any person without that person going through the compulsory biometric verification process and a BVN issued. So if you opened your bank account in Nigeria after october, 2015, then you already have a BVN.
- Its impossible to apply for BVN online. You must go through a strict biometric verification process before you can be issued a BVN number. But once you have gone through the street biometric identification process and a BVN obtained, you can open a bank account online with any bank in Nigeria online by simply providing your unique BVN code .
- An individual in Nigeria is expected to use just one BVN through out his or her life spand. If you forgot your BVN or misplace your BVN card, you just need to go to the bank that issued your BVN card and they will retrieve your BVN and give it to you.
- BVN cards expire after every 10yrs. So after 10 yrs you will need to go to the bank that issued your BVN to renew it for free.