Data from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc reveals that the total number of issued Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) reached 57.96 million as of July 3, 2023. This comes as the Central Bank of Nigeria plans to close bank accounts that are not linked to BVNs. The NIBSS highlights the increasing need for enhanced security measures in the banking system due to the rising incidents of compromised passwords and PINs.
Biometric technologies have been employed as an advanced form of authentication to ensure real-time security processes. BVN provides a unique identity that can be verified across all Nigerian banks, safeguarding customers’ accounts from unauthorized access and addressing identity theft concerns while reducing fraud risks. The BVN is recognized as an acceptable means of identification across the banking industry.
The CBN emphasizes that BVN is part of its comprehensive strategy to enhance Know Your Customer principles and promote a secure, reliable, and efficient payment system. As of December 2021, there were 133.5 million BVNs, with the number increasing to 57.96 million by July 2023.
To combat fraud, the CBN is actively working to remove accounts without BVNs from the financial system. A recent report by FITC reveals that bank customers in Nigeria lost N472 million to fraud in the first quarter of 2023, with 12,553 fraud cases recorded during that period.
Furthermore, the CBN has placed 6,047 BVNs of bank customers on a watch list for fraudulent transactions. Out of the total active customer accounts of 148.46 million, 130.57 million are linked to BVNs, while 6,047 BVNs are associated with fraud, and 11,871 BVNs are linked to deceased persons, according to the CBN Financial Stability June 2022 report published in December 2022.