Registration for Bank Verification Number (BVN) jumped to 60.49 million on January 26, 2024, showing that a total of 291,232 new BVNs were issued by banks in the last two weeks.
This was revealed in the latest BVN registration data released by the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS). Nairametrics had earlier reported that as of January 10, 2024, the BVN database stood at 60.2 million.
Against the backdrop of the recent announcement by the Central Bank of Nigeria that all bank accounts without BVN would be frozen from April 2024, Nigerians without BVN are now rushing to get the number.
The apex bank also directed commercial, merchant, non-interest, payment service banks, other financial institutions, and mobile money operators, through a circular that the BVN or National Identification Number, NIN, attached to all accounts/wallets must be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024.
The BVN database has been growing but slowly. At the end of 2022, the BVN database stood at 56.5 million after a total of 4.8 million new registrations were recorded in the year. However, data released towards the end of last year showed that the database only increased by about 3.4 million in the year.
According to NIBSS, active bank accounts in the country stood at 133.5 million as of December 2021. While data for 2022 and 2023 has yet to be released, the figures are expected to be higher than that of 2021, which showed that there is still a wide gap between the registered BVN and the number of bank accounts.
However, industry analysts believe that the difference may not be much because multiple accounts can be linked to a single BVN.
According to Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2023 Survey report, 5% (3 million) of banked adults do not have a BVN or NIN.
CBN’s April 2024 deadline
The CBN in December last year announced that it would freeze accounts without a BVN and National Identification Number (NIN) from April 2024.
In a circular by the apex bank, it instructed banks to place a “Post no Debit” restriction – which prevents customers from making withdrawals, transfers, or any other debits “for all existing Tier-1 accounts/wallets without BVN or NIN”.
“Effective immediately, any unfunded account/wallet shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ until the new process is satisfied. Effective March 1, 2024, all funded accounts or wallets shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ and no further transactions permitted,” the circular by the CBN Director of Payments System Management Department Chibuzo Efobi, and the Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department Haruna Mustapha read in part.