The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) has reported that three million bank account owners in the country enrolled for the Biometric Verification Number (BVN) from January to May 29 this year, raising the number of enrolments to 54.7 million so far.
According to the data released by NIBSS, as of December 26, 2021, the total number of BVN enrolment stood at 51.7 million, indicating six million increase for the year.
The NIBSS data showed that active bank accounts in the country stood at 133.5 million as of December 2021. This gap in enrolment figures and bank accounts showed that many bank account owners were yet to activate their accounts by enrolling in the BVN portal.
It would be recalled that as a way of encouraging bank account owners in the country to be captured on the BVN database, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had, in December 2019, announced the commencement of the classification BVN 2.0 plan which allows both the rich and poor in rural areas to access financial services.
The apex bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who announced the plan at the end of the 11th Bankers’ Committee’s retreat in Ogere, Ogun State, explained that BVN would from then be classified into two, namely the BVN Premium and BVN Lite.
According to him, while the BVN Premium covers customers that can provide the 18 basic requirements for a complete BVN enrolment, the BVN Lite requires minimal documentation like names and phone numbers for bank customers, especially those in the rural areas that do not meet the full requirements.
Emefiele clarified: “The BVN 2.0 classification scheme will help bring more people into the financial system and reduce the financial exclusion rate.”
The initiative, which is in collaboration with the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and Mobile Money Operators (MMOs), was undertaken to ensure more Nigerians were brought into the financial system.
The BVN is a unique number issued to every bank customer at enrolment and linked to every account that the customer has in the banking system and allows individual accounts to be verified across the system
Specifically, the NIBSS says the BVN gives bank account owners a unique identity that can be verified across the Nigerian banking industry and also ensures that customers’ bank accounts are protected from unauthorized access.