The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says that only 57.4 million individuals out of Nigeria’s population of over 200 million have a Bank Verification Number (BVN). The BVN project was launched in February 2014 in collaboration with the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), the Bankers’ Committee, and deposit money banks.
The primary objective of introducing the BVN was to provide a unique identification system for Nigerian bank customers, enhance banking efficiency and reduce fraud. Consequently, the BVN has now become a crucial requirement for individuals who wish to open and maintain bank accounts in the country.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, represented by the Director Monetary Policy Department of the CBN, Dr Hassan Mahmoud, says that with a total enrolment of 57,431,355 as of 31st March 2023, the BVN is supporting the development of credit profiles for banking customers, which will assist in improving access to credit for credit-worthy borrowers by banks.
He reiterates that the CBN will continue to support the aggressive enrolment of prospective banking customers in the informal sector onto the BVN system and adds that the Payments System Vision (PSV) 2025 was introduced to expand payment options available to customers and strengthen regulation of the payments system. He notes that the apex bank uses the payments system as a tool to achieve the financial inclusion goals of the country.