The story of modern and innovative banking in Nigeria will not be complete without mentioning the term “Bank Verification Number” popularly known as BVN.
The Nigerian banking sector has over the years suffered the absence of a unique identifier which no doubt posed a major challenge by inhibiting the effectiveness of the Know Your Customer (KYC) principle.
KYC before 2014
Before 2014, KYC was done with the use of driver’s license; the International Passport; the National Identity Card; and the Permanent Voter’s Card, but all of these did not fully address the increasing compromise of customer security data like passwords, PINs, and the challenges banks face with identity management.
Thanks to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) who in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee in February 14, 2014 launched a centralized biometric identification system for the banking industry called – Bank Verification Number (BVN).
Bank Verification Number (BVN) Explained
Bank Verification Number (BVN) is like a security number specially launched for banks and other financial institutions to identify an individual or enable a bank customer to have a single identity in the banking system.
To break it down, the BVN is a unique 11-digit number allocated to you upon biometric registration.
Remember the days you were asked at the banking hall to place your different fingers on a fingerprint machine? The days you were asked to sit directly opposite a bank customer representative so your face can be captured with a biometric device? That was you undergoing a biometric registration!
Biometric Registration is the collection of a person’s biological information through the live capturing of his/her fingerprints, photographs and live signatures.
BVN gives a unique identity that can be verified across the Nigerian Banking Industry. The best part of this is that it is not peculiar to one bank.
Since 2014 till date, the BVN has been used to identify customers across the Nigerian Banking industry, but many bank customers still have issues obtaining their BVN and accessing financial services because they forget or don’t have them saved on their devices or have them written down.
Good news is that banks are now keying into innovative customer services that makes it possible for you to perform a handful of banking tasks with your mobile phone without visiting the bank. Yes, you can check your BVN number wherever you are, on your phone, without compromising your security!
The BVN is a National thing and so telecom providers in Nigeria were mandated to enable users to perform this task.
How to check your BVN on MTN, Airtel, GLO, and 9mobile
This is the part where you will learn how to check your BVN with your mobile phone while on the go.
To get started, it is worth noting that the BVN service uses one mobile phone number registered with any of the mobile network operators in Nigeria. What this simply means is that if you used an MTN number to register for BVN at your bank, you can’t use your GLO number to check your BVN. Same is applicable to AIRTEL and 9mobile.
That said, you can now follow these simple steps below to check your BVN on your mobile phone:
Step 1: Launch your phone dialer and dial the USSD code 5650#
Step 2: Wait a few seconds until your unique 11-digit number pops up.
Step 3: Copy the number. You can either copy it for immediate use or save it for later.
Performing this task comes with a N25 charge which your network provider will deduct from your airtime account. So you make sure you write down your BVN or save it on your phone book for future use. However, if you feel N25 is nothing to worry about each time you perform this task, you can skip the part of saving for future use.
One last thing
As earlier stated, BVN is not peculiar to just one bank or one mobile phone network. Everyone is allocated one unique BVN that’s used across all the banks in Nigeria and so if you are an Access bank customer, it’s the same USSD code (*565*0#), a GTCO customer used that you will use. In other words, if you have accounts with all the commercial banks in Nigeria, you’ll still have one unique BVN that links all of them back to you.