Written by Sarah NEGEDU

CBN link 44million accounts in BVN project

Four years after the introduction of its Bank Verification Number project, the Central Bank of Nigeria said it has successfully captured over 31million account customers and linked close to 44million bank accounts in the BVN project.

The BVN was launched in February 2014 to revolutionise banking and payment systems in Nigeria. The biometric authentication structure seeks to ensure the safety of customers’ funds and avoid losses through compromised PIN(s). 

The CBN Director, Banking and Payment System, Mr Dipo Fatokun, in his presentation at the meeting of the ID4Africa Movement, said the CBN had also linked a total of 43,959,282 banks accounts in the BVN project.

Fatokun, in a paper titled, `Nigeria’s progress towards the creation of a robust, trusted and inclusive Financial Services Environment’ said, the BVN has helped to increase deterrent controls on financial transactions and reduce fraud risk and identity theft.

“To address the absence of a unique identifier in the Nigerian banking industry and to facilitate the creation of inclusive financial services environment, the CBN in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee launched the BVN Project on Feb. 14, 2014, with biometric solution, as a unique identifier for all bank customers.

“The objectives include the following: increase access, convenience, service levels across the industry; enable greater financial inclusion and integration of financial services into the economy, with its attendant positive impact on economic development,”  he said.

According to him, the project has also created avenues for people who cannot write regular signature to make financial transactions, thus, facilitating financial inclusion.

“As at December 2017, the implementation of the BVN Project recorded 31,426,091 registered BVNs and 43,959,282- accounts linked with BVN,” he said.

Fatokun explained that the BVN was part of the Federal Government’s strategy towards accelerating financial inclusion in the country.

“Nigeria launched its National Financial Inclusion Strategy in October 2012 with the goal of reducing the percentage adult Nigerians that are excluded from financial services from 46.3 percent in 2010 to 20 percent by 2020,” he said.

Fatokun added that a number of factors were identified as barriers to financial inclusion among Nigerians.

“The identified barriers to financial inclusion include lack of income, long distance to access points, lack of knowledge about financial services, high cost of services and cumbersome requirements for account opening.

“In order to achieve the set target, and to address the aforementioned barriers, different measures and initiatives were put in place by the CBN.

“To address the cumbersome documentation requirement for account opening, the CBN introduced the Three-tiered Know-Your-Customer, T-KYC, in 2013, which was modified in July, 2016.

“The three-tiered KYC guideline allows individuals who may not meet the formal identification requirements and in banks to operate and enjoy banking services within defined thresholds.

“The simplification consists of lowering the account opening requirements and less-paper documentation in exchange for lower threshold,” he said.

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