A Bank Verification Number (BVN) stands as an exclusive 11-digit code allotted to every person within the Nigerian banking industry. As reported by A3Techworld, the BVN count has reached an impressive 57,961,275 as of July 3, 2023, based on data from NIBBS.
Ever since Nigeria’s initial attempt to establish an organized banking system back in 1989, marked by the establishment of the first public banking institution, the country’s financial sector has faced considerable instability and setbacks.
These setbacks have often been linked to the mishandling of depositors’ funds and occasional instances of fraudulent behaviour within the banking system.
In response to these challenges, various measures have been introduced to safeguard against further failures and promote the sector’s growth. Notably, institutions such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Commission (NDIC) have played pivotal roles in shaping these efforts.
Among the strategies enacted to reinforce the system and stimulate its progress is the adoption of the Bank Verification Number (BVN), which aligns with the guidelines established in the Act of 1958. For a similar post read our detailed article on “NIN Nigeria: Everything you need to know about your NIN in Nigeria.”
In this article, we’re going to get into the specifics of the Bank Verification Number (BVN), covering aspects like how to go about getting your BVN, the process of checking it online, and the steps for updating your BVN information.
Table of Contents
What is Bank Verification Number (BVN)?
The Bank Verification Number (BVN) was introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee and NIBSS on February 14, 2014. This initiative aimed to combat fraudulent activities within the Nigerian banking system.
The BVN is a unique 11-digit code provided after biometric registration at a banking institution. This number serves as a seamless means to verify and confirm customers’ identities across various electronic platforms that are interconnected and interoperable.
The strength of the BVN lies in its association with all of an individual’s bank accounts, encompassing their complete financial transactions. As a result, any fraudulent activity linked to an individual’s account from any banking establishment is quickly detected.
When searching the BVN database, pertinent information about an individual becomes accessible. This data, known as bio-data, includes personal details such as names, phone numbers, addresses, and dates of birth.
One could liken the BVN to a security code designed specifically for banks and financial institutions to accurately identify individuals through their bank account particulars.
All you need to know about the Bank Verification Number (Summary)
Our research at A3Techworld has explored the following vital insights regarding the BVN:
Every bank customer will receive a distinct identification number upon enrollment, and this number will be linked to all the accounts they hold across Nigerian banks. During enrollment, individuals will need to provide an acceptable form of identification as specified.
Bank customers must complete their enrollment within a specific timeframe; otherwise, they won’t be able to manage their bank accounts anymore. During this process, all ten fingers and a facial image will be recorded.
For authentication purposes, individuals conducting banking activities such as loan applications will need to confirm their identity using their unique biometric features. These features will be cross-referenced against the information stored in the central database.
Whenever customer information needs updating, it will need to be done physically at the individual’s bank branch. During account opening and credit checks, banks will receive notifications if a customer has been black-listed by any Nigerian bank.
The BVN and an individual’s distinct characteristics will work alongside a personal identification number (PIN) during transactions. This combination ensures secure and accurate point-of-transaction activities.
How to get a Bank Verification Number (BVN)
Below is a simplified guide on how to enrol and obtain your BVN (Bank Verification Number) in Nigeria:
Requirements: Valid ID (international passport, voter card, national identity card, driver’s license) and a complete enrollment form.
- Visit Your Bank: Head to any branch of your bank.
- Complete the BVN Enrolment Form: Fill out the BVN Enrolment form provided at the branch.
- Provide Your Information: You’ll need to provide your data for capturing. This includes fingerprint and a facial image.
- Receive an Acknowledgment Slip: After completing the process, you’ll be given an acknowledgement slip. This slip contains a transaction ID that’s associated with your application.
- Confirmation and BVN Generation: The system takes about 24 hours to verify your application. Once confirmed, your BVN is generated.
- SMS Notification: You’ll receive an SMS notification letting you know that your BVN is ready for pickup.
How to check BVN on MTN, Airtel, GLO, and 9mobile
Although this method is limited, it is after and easier to access and does not need an internet connection. The USSD code to check your BVN is *565*#, this code works for all banks in Nigeria. The code should be dialled using the same phone number that was used to register the BVN.
- Go to your phone dialer and dial the USSD code *565*0#.
- Wait a bit until the 11-digit number pops up.
- Copy the number.
The above USSD bank code works for all banks in Nigeria.
How to Check Your BVN Online on the NIBSS website
The NIBSS, which stands for Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, is a company owned by the industry. It’s responsible for managing the infrastructure that supports electronic transactions between banks in Nigeria. As your BVN (Bank Verification Number) is a vital part of banking, the NIBSS website offers a specific tool to look up BVNs. This tool aids in verifying and retrieving your BVN-related information.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to check your BVN using the NIBSS website:
- Open the NIBSS website on your mobile phone or computer.
- Fill in your name and date of birth in the designated fields.
- Input the phone number that is linked to your BVN.
- Click the “Submit” button to proceed.
- Choose a preferred payment method and pay the required verification fee of ₦20.
- If your details are accurate and your BVN is valid, you’ll be able to view your 11-digit Bank Verification Number on the screen.
How to change your BVN details (Phone number, Date of Birth, Name, etc.)
The most asked question is “How can I change my BVN number?” The answer is simply no, you can’t change your Bank Verification Number.
However, you can change your BVN details, this covers your phone number, date of Birth, name, and so on.
You can change your BVN details with major Nigerian banks such as Access Bank Plc, Ecobank Nigeria Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, First City Monument Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Heritage Bank, Keystone Bank Limited, Polaris Bank Limited, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Standard Chartered, Sterling Bank Plc, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, Unity Bank Plc, Wema Bank Plc, and Zenith Bank Plc.
Step 1: Requirements For BVN Detail Updates
Before visiting the bank, gather the necessary documents based on the changes you want to make:
- Changing BVN date of birth: Bring your birth certificate.
- Updating names or other details due to marriage: Provide your marriage certificate.
- Modifying name and phone number: Present your national identity card, voter’s card, or international passport reflecting the correct name.
- Changing gender: Simply present yourself as your true self.
Step 2: Visiting The Bank
Visit the bank where you initially enrolled for BVN or any branch where you have an existing account. Typically, the BVN number change can be done at the Customer Care Help Desk. Approach the desk and inquire about the process for making these changes. You’ll be given a BVN change form to fill out, specifying the details you wish to update. If you have any difficulties, the customer care representative will guide you through the necessary steps, which may involve your biometric data.
Step 3: How Long Does It Take To Change Your BVN Details?
To determine how long it takes to change your BVN, once you provide all the necessary documents, the process should not take more than 24 hours. It takes a maximum of three weeks to change the name, date of birth, and number on BVN. If it exceeds three weeks and no changes occurred on your BVN, kindly visit the customer care unit of your bank.
How to Link BVN to a Bank Account Using USSD Codes
Access Bank BVN: Simply send BVN, your account number, and BVN number to 20121 e.g. BVN 06812345678 22498765432 to 20121 using the telephone number linked to your account.
Eco Bank BVN: Simply dial * 565 * 0 # on your registered phone to retrieve your BVN and send an email from their website to Eco Bank’s official email address to match it with your Ecobank Link account.
GTBank BVN: Dial * 737 * 20 * BVN # on the phone number associated with your account.
Sterling Bank BVN: Dial * 822 * 3 * BVN # on the number registered in your Sterling account.
UBA BVN: Dial * 919 * 60 * BVN # on the mobile number linked to your account to link your BVN.
Unity Bank BVN: Dial * 7799 # >> Navigate to BVN verification on the mobile phone number linked to your account to link your BVN.
Zenith Bank BVN: Dial * 966 * BVN # with the number assigned to your account.
You can also link your BVN to your bank through your bank’s official website. To do this, simply log into your internet account, click on the options menu and you will see the option to link your BVN.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I change my BVN?
Unless you are referring to your BVN details, it is not possible to change your Bank Verification Number and it is not possible to do a new BVN registration.
How do I check my BVN number online?
How to check BVN online using the NIBSS website:
- Go to the NIBSS website using your mobile phone or a computer.
- Provide your name and date of birth in the required fields.
- Enter the phone number linked to your BVN.
- Click the “Submit” button.
- Select a preferred payment option and pay the required ₦20 verification fee.
How can I get my BVN number without a phone number?
To retrieve your BVN without a phone number, the initial step involves visiting your bank in person. This method is the simplest and most direct approach for BVN retrieval. During this process, you’ll need to present a valid form of identification that verifies your identity. Examples of accepted identification documents include your International Passport, National ID Card, or Driver’s License.
How can I check my BVN name and date of birth on my phone?
To check your date of birth and name associated with your BVN, simply dial *565*0# using your MTN, Airtel, Glo, or 9mobile. After obtaining your BVN from the response, visit a branch of your bank and inform them that you wish to verify the date of birth and name linked to your BVN.
How many times can I change my BVN name?
You are allowed only one opportunity to set your BVN (Bank Verification Number) name. Once you’ve completed the enrollment process, you can make corrections to your name. However, it’s important to note that the BVN itself remains unchanged. This unique identification number is designed to ensure every customer’s identity security and prevent identity theft.
What is the relationship between NIN and BVN?
BVN stands for Bank Verification Number and is a policy implemented by banks, but it hasn’t been legally established. On the other hand, NIN, which stands for National Identification Number, is the sole compulsory number and serves as the primary identification for our citizens. All other forms of identification are considered secondary.
Can BVN be used as NIN?
While NIN generated through BVN can potentially serve as a NIN, it requires an update at a NIMC enrollment centre to be fully valid. To ensure accuracy and legitimacy, individuals in this situation must visit any NIMC enrollment centre to update their biometrics and validate their NIN.