According to data issued by the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Nigerian banks recorded a total of 4.8 million registrations for the Bank Verification Number (BVN). Following the new additions, the total number of registrations for BVNs now stands at 56.5 million. As of December 2021, this figure was 51.7 million.
The total number of registrations recorded in 2022 shows a slowdown in registration growth compared to 2021. In 2021, the registration grew by 6 million from 45.7 million in December 2020 to 51.7 million in December 2021.
Active bank accounts in Nigeria stood at 133.5 million as of December 2021, according to NIBSS, and while the figure for 2022 is yet to be released, it is expected to surpass that of 2021. Comparing figures, there is still quite a gap between the number of BVN registrations and the number of active accounts in the country. But experts are of the opinion that people own multiple bank accounts which can be connected to one BVN, and at such the gap may not even exist or may not be significant.
The Bank Verification Number (BVN) was introduced as a system that verified all individual accounts across the banking industry. Individuals are provided with a unique ID number after enrolling and this can be linked to their multiple individual accounts across various banks. The unique number, according to the NIBSS, also gives bank account holders a distinct identity that can be verified across the Nigerian banking industry and acts as a way to protect individuals from unauthorized access to their accounts. “With the increasing incidents of compromise on conventional security systems (password and PIN), there is a high demand for greater security for access to sensitive or personal information in the banking system. In recent times, biometric technologies have been used to analyze human characteristics as an enhanced form of authentication for real-time security processes,” the NIBSS said.