The Bank Verification Number (BVN) was introduced in Nigeria in 2014 as a collaborative effort between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS). Its primary goal was to address the challenges associated with identity theft, fraud, and money laundering in the country's banking system.

The BVN initiative aimed to create a centralized biometric database that would serve as a means of identifying and verifying bank customers across all Nigerian banks. It involved the collection and registration of biometric data, such as fingerprints and facial recognition, from bank customers.


What is BVN?


The Bank Verification Number (BVN) is a unique identification number assigned to individuals in Nigeria's banking system. It is a centralized system that links an individual's biometric information (such as fingerprints and facial recognition) with their personal details. The BVN serves as a means of verifying and authenticating the identity of bank customers, promoting transparency, and security, and reducing fraud in the banking sector.

The registration process required individuals to visit their respective banks and provide their biometric information, alongside personal details, such as name, date of birth, and address. These details were then recorded in the centralized database.

Once registered, customers received a unique 11-digit BVN, which became their universal identification number across all banks in Nigeria. The BVN allowed banks to authenticate the identity of their customers quickly and effectively, reducing the risk of fraud and promoting financial transparency.

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Since its introduction, the BVN has become a mandatory requirement for opening new bank accounts in Nigeria. Existing account holders were also required to link their accounts with their BVN to ensure compliance with the directive. The BVN system has been successful in enhancing the integrity of the Nigerian banking system and curbing fraudulent activities.


How Does One Obtain A BVN?


To obtain a Bank Verification Number (BVN) in Nigeria, an individual must follow these steps:

i. Visit any bank branch: Choose a bank where you have an account or any bank that provides BVN enrollment services. 


ii. Request BVN enrollment form: Ask the bank officials for the BVN enrollment form. They will provide you with the necessary documents to begin the registration process. 


iii. Fill out the BVN enrollment form: Complete the BVN enrollment form with accurate and up-to-date personal information, such as your full name, date of birth, phone number, address, and other required details. 


iv. Provide supporting documents: Submit valid identification documents to verify your identity. Accepted documents may include a valid passport, driver's license, national ID card, or voter's card.


v. Complete biometric data capture: Proceed to the designated area within the bank to undergo the biometric data capture process. This typically involves the capture of your fingerprints and a photograph. Sometimes, facial recognition data may also be collected.

vi. Receive BVN acknowledgement slip: After successful registration, the bank will provide you with a BVN acknowledgement slip. This slip contains your unique 11-digit BVN, along with other relevant information. Keep this slip safe as it serves as proof of your BVN registration.

vii. Link BVN to your bank accounts: If you already have existing bank accounts, visit each bank and provide your BVN to link it to your accounts. This step ensures that your BVN is associated with all your accounts across different banks.


Why Do People Change Their BVN Phone Number?


People may change their Bank Verification Number (BVN) phone numbers for several reasons, including:

1. Change of personal phone number: 


Individuals may change their phone numbers due to various reasons such as getting a new SIM card, switching to a different mobile network provider, or updating their contact information. When their BVN was originally registered, they might have used a different phone number. To ensure that their BVN record reflects their current contact details, they need to update the phone number associated with their BVN.

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2. Lost or stolen phone: 


If someone's phone is lost or stolen, they may want to change their BVN phone number to prevent unauthorized access to their personal information. By updating their BVN phone number, they can ensure that any communication or alerts related to their BVN are directed to their new phone number.

3. Privacy and security concerns: 


Individuals may change their BVN phone numbers if they feel that their existing number has been compromised or if they want to enhance their privacy and security. This may be particularly relevant if they have been receiving unsolicited calls, messages, or potential phishing attempts on their current phone number.

It is essential to keep the BVN phone number up to date to receive important notifications, alerts, and information from the bank and ensure seamless communication with the banking system. To change the BVN phone number, individuals typically need to visit their bank branch and follow the prescribed process for updating their contact details


How To Change BVN Phone Number


The specific requirements for changing the Bank Verification Number (BVN) phone number may vary slightly depending on the policies and procedures of the bank where the BVN was registered. However, the general requirements for changing the BVN phone number are as follows:

1. Visit the Bank Branch: 


You will need to visit the branch of the bank where you registered your BVN. This is usually the bank where you have your primary account or the bank that provided BVN enrollment services.

2. BVN Update/Change Request Form: 

Request and fill out the BVN update/change request form. This form is typically available at the customer service or BVN enrollment desk of the bank. Fill in the required fields, providing accurate and up-to-date information.

3. Supporting Documents: 


Provide valid identification documents to verify your identity and facilitate the change of your BVN phone number. Acceptable identification documents may include a valid passport, driver's license, national ID card, or voter's card.

4. Proof of Ownership of New Phone Number: 


Some banks may require you to provide evidence of ownership of the new phone number. This can be in the form of a SIM pack, phone bill, or any other document that shows your name and the new phone number.

5. BVN Acknowledgement slip: 


Present the BVN acknowledgement slip that you received during the initial BVN registration. This slip contains your unique 11-digit BVN and serves as proof of your BVN registration.

6. Biometric Verification: 


You may be required to undergo biometric verification, which typically involves the capture of your fingerprints and sometimes facial recognition data. This step helps to authenticate your identity and ensure that the changes are made to the correct BVN record.

It is important to note that the specific requirements and procedures for changing the BVN phone number may vary slightly between banks. It is advisable to contact your bank or visit their website for precise information on their BVN update/change process.


Why BVN Phone Numbers Cannot Be Changed Online


BVN phone numbers cannot be changed online primarily for security reasons and to prevent unauthorized modifications to personal information. Here are some reasons why BVN phone number changes typically cannot be done online:

1. Identity Verification


Changing BVN phone numbers requires verifying the identity of the individual making the request. Banks need to ensure that the person requesting the change is the legitimate account holder. This is typically done through in-person verification at a bank branch, where the individual's identification documents and biometric data can be verified.

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2. Preventing Fraud and Unauthorized Access


Changing BVN phone numbers online could open up opportunities for fraudsters and unauthorized individuals to gain access to personal accounts and sensitive information. By conducting the process in person at the bank, it adds an extra layer of security and reduces the risk of fraudulent activities.

3. Legal and Regulatory Requirements


Banks in Nigeria must comply with various legal and regulatory requirements regarding customer identification, fraud prevention, and data protection. The in-person verification process for BVN phone number changes helps banks ensure compliance with these requirements and mitigate risks associated with unauthorized modifications.

4. Protecting Customer Data


BVN is a critical piece of personal identification information that is linked to various banking activities and transactions. By requiring physical presence at the bank, the risk of unauthorized access to personal data is reduced, safeguarding the privacy and security of the customer's information.

While it may be more convenient for customers to change BVN phone numbers online, the current procedures prioritize security and comply with regulatory guidelines to protect customers' interests. Banks aim to strike a balance between convenience and security in their processes to ensure the integrity of the BVN system.


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