Bank Verification Number (BVN)

With the increasing incidents of compromise on conventional security systems (password and PIN), there is a high demand for greater security on access to sensitive or personal information in the Banking system.

The BVN gives each Bank customer a unique identity across the Nigerian Banking industry that can be used for easy identification and verification at Point of Banking operations.

Biometrics refers to identification of an individual based on physiological attributes- fingerprint, voice, facial features etc. To address existing challenges with identity management, the Central Bank of Nigeria, in collaboration with all Nigerian banks launched a centralized biometric identification system tagged Bank Verification Number (BVN)



Below are some Commonly Asked Questions about the BVN Project.

Question 1: What is a BVN?

Answer: BVN means Bank Verification Number

Question 2: What is the Goal of the Bank Verification Number?

Answer: The goal of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) is to uniquely verify the identity of each Bank’s customer for ‘know your customer’ (KYC) purposes. Question 3: What is Enrolment? Answer: Enrolment is the process of capturing a customer’s details which includes fingerprint and facial image after which a BVN is generated. Question 4: How does a Customer get a BVN? Answer: A customer enrolls at any branch of a bank where he/she has an account or intends to open an account. Question 5: Must every customer have a BVN, is it Compulsory? Answer: Yes it is. Question 6: How long does it take to get a BVN? Answer: It takes up to 24hrs after Enrolment to get a BVN. Question 7: What is the Benefit of enrolling for a BVN? Answer: The BVN helps to reduce fraud, increase the efficiency of banking operations and also enable customer access to future credit facilities. Question 8: How is the BVN communicated to the customer? Answer: Once the BVN is generated, the bank would inform you of your BVN. All customers would receive SMS alerts. Question 9: If a customer forgets his/her BVN what should the customer do? Answer: The customer should contact his/her bank where the enrolment was carried out, to retrieve the number. Question 10: How/ Where can you update customer information e.g. in case of change of address? Answer: The customer goes to his/her bank and follows the bank’s processes for updating customer information. A customer can update his/her information only at the bank where he/she has an account. Question 11: Does the BVN change when customers update their record? Answer: No, the BVN doesn’t change. Question 12: When does my BVN expire and how do I renew? Answer: The BVN expires after 10 years. After 10 years of the issuance of the BVN, the customer goes back to his/her bank to re-enroll.

Question 13: Does my BVN number remain the same for Life? Answer: Yes it does Question 14: Can a customer Enrol in one bank and get the BVN from another bank? Answer: No. The customer can only pick up his/her BVN at any branch of the same Bank he/she enrolled. Question 15: If a person steals another customers BVN and comes to the bank what happens? Answer: The person’s live fingerprint will not match what is stored on the customer’s record. Question 16: After the BVN has been generated, what next? Answer: A customer’s identity can now be verified against their BVN. Question 17: Does a customer have to be physically present to Enrol? Answer: Yes, because the customer’s physical features e.g. fingerprints have to be captured. Question 18: What is the Enrolment procedure for corporate accounts? Answer: Individuals who are signatories to corporate accounts will enroll and their BVNs would be linked to the corporate account by the Banks. Question 19: Can minors be Enroled? Answer: No, only bank-able adults can be enrolled. Question 20: What is Verification? Answer: Verification refers to the process of confirming a customer’s identity. Question 21: What is Offline Verification? Answer: Offline verification will authenticate the customer by comparing the fingerprint or the facial image with the data stored on the BVN card. Question 22: What happens if a customer is an amputee? Answer: The facial features of the customer will be captured as fingerprints will not be required for Amputees. Question 23: Will biometric function be implemented on POS and ATM terminals, and if yes, how will it work? Answer: It will be implemented at a later stage. More details to come. Question 24: How would Bank customers Living outside Nigeria Enrol? Answer: Bank customers living outside Nigeria would have to come back to the country to enroll. Question 25: Who does a customer contact with regards to any biometrics complaint? Answer: The customer should contact his/her bank. Question 26: Would a customer have to go to all Banks where he/she has an account to Enrol? Answer: No, once a customer is enrolled at one bank and a BVN is generated, the customer only has to take the BVN to other banks to link such accounts.

Question 27: Are customers’ information secure? Answer: Yes they are, the details are encrypted and stored in a secure database. Question 28: Is it possible to start an enrolment and finish later? Can it be saved like a draft? Answer: No, because the enrolment is done real time, it is necessary that it is completed in one session. Question 29: What happens if a customer comes to enroll with bandaged/injured fingers? Answer: Customers with injuries or bandaged fingers are advised to return for enrolment once fingers are healed. However if you require special exemption please contact your Bank. Question 30: What happens to individuals that cannot write or are illiterates. How do they fill the enrolment form? Answer: A customer service officer will assist the customer in filling the enrolment form. Question 31: Can a customer choose which of his/her accounts will be linked to the BVN? Answer: No, a customer cannot, all accounts would be linked. Question 32: During Facial capture can a customer leave his/her glasses on? Answer: No a customer cannot leave his/her glasses on during facial capture. Question 33: What is the basic identification needed for enrolment? Answer: It depends on the level of account the customer wants to open. Please contact your bank. Question 34: For joint accounts how does the linking work? Answer: All signatories of the accounts shall be linked. Question 35: If a customer doesn’t have a means of identification can the customer’s data still be captured? Answer: Yes, please refer to question 33 Question 36: Are there Terms and Conditions to be agreed to by a customer before giving out his/her details? Answer: Yes there are Agreement clauses at the end of the enrolment forms. Question 37: After a customer has enrolled and collected his/her BVN, Would the customer still be required to provide another means of identification at the point of transaction? Answer: No, a formal identification is not needed because verification is done at the point of transaction. Question 38: Since I am a Bank customer and the Bank already has my information, do I have to fill an enrolment form? Answer: Yes, everybody fills a form irrespective of an existing account holder. Question 39: Is there a deadline for every bank customer to be enrolled? Answer: Yes, CBN will announce a deadline shortly

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