In a move aimed at enhancing financial system stability and reinforcing Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced plans to freeze accounts lacking a Bank
Verification Number (BVN) or National Identification Number (NIN) starting from April 2024.
This decision was disclosed in a circular issued by the apex bank on a Friday, instructing banks to implement a “Post no Debit” restriction on all existing Tier-1 accounts and wallets without BVN or NIN.
The circular, jointly signed by Chibuzo Efobi, Director of Payments System Management Department, and Haruna Mustapha, Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, outlines a phased approach to enforce this new measure.
Effective immediately, any unfunded account or wallet will be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ until the new process is satisfied.
Furthermore, starting from March 1, 2024, all funded accounts or wallets without BVN or NIN will face the same restriction, with no further transactions permitted.
To ensure compliance, the CBN has mandated that all BVN or NIN linked to accounts/wallets must undergo electronic revalidation by January 31, 2024.
The bank will conduct a BVN or NIN verification shortly as part of its broader efforts to promote financial system stability and strengthen KYC procedures in financial institutions.
A comprehensive BVN and NIN audit will also be carried out shortly, with appropriate sanctions applied in cases of identified breaches.
The CBN emphasizes that the account opening process will now commence by electronically retrieving BVN or NIN-related information from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) and the National Identity Management Commission’s (NIMC) databases.
For new customers, the BVN or NIN will become the primary information for onboarding, and all existing customer accounts/wallets for individuals with validated BVN will be profiled in the NIBSS’ ICAD immediately and within 24 hours of opening accounts/wallets.
In cases where a potential customer lacks a BVN or NIN, the CBN advises regulated financial institutions to initiate the enrollment process onto the BVN database, guided by protocols issued by the NIBSS