As the Central Bank of Nigeria, the nation's premier financial institution, keep reiterating the importance of the Bank Verification Number (BVN), saying it is an important step the apex bank to strengthen the security of banking transactions and to ensure that fraudulent transactions are minimised, if not totally eliminated.
The campaign is on, but the public may not realise its importance until it closes in June 2015. Yet as the public embraces the initiative with enthusiasm, it should be aware that some fraudsters are trying to undermine the exercise by providing seemingly easier registration options for bank account holders.
These scammers request these details online and threaten that the account would be closed if the owner does not provide them the details. Their target is the account holder’s money. The best way of enrolling remains direct communication with one’s bank.
BVN uses biometric technology to register customers in the financial system. It records these physical features which are unique to individuals, such as fingerprints and the face. The record would be used to identify the person afterwards.
Once a person’s biometrics have been recorded, and BVN issued, the account would be accessed through BVN. The major objectives of the initiative are to protect bank customers, reduce fraud and strengthen the Nigerian banking system.
Biometric enrolment is helpful to people who cannot read and write. Their finger prints and pictures would serve the same purpose as signatures. Multiple account holders would be covered with a single registration in any of the banks where they have accounts.
BVN will help the banking system reduce situations where loan defaulters, for instance, move from one bank to the other and the banks extend new credits to them, without knowing their history. Banks would be able to track transactions across all banks in Nigeria with more ease.