In the early days of banking operations, opening bank accounts was very tedious. You probably remember the process of having to go to different centres to make photocopies of required certificates and passport photographs. This is usually then followed by long queues that end at “come back after 7 working days”. Fortunately, the advancement in technology has greatly reduced the requirements for opening a bank account in Nigeria and its associated stress. 

Today, you can simply walk into a bank and have an account in minutes, or choose to open one completely online. There are even digital banks today that don't have any physical branches but facilitate transactions involving millions on a daily basis. However,  although much simpler and easier, there are still certain documents you need to provide for compliance reasons.

This article discusses the necessary requirements for opening a bank account in Nigeria as well as some of the KYC documents you need to provide.

Why Having a Bank Account is Important 


From receiving transfers domestically and internationally to salary payments and loan disbursement, there are several reasons why you need to have a traditional bank account. This remains a fact despite the rise of digital banking means like mobile money and prepaid cards. 

Traditional bank accounts are connected to all your digital transactional footprints and details from the transactions are often requested as proof of qualification during certain applications. A good example of this is during a loan application. Before a loan is approved, the bank goes through your credit history from the credit bureaus for financial proof of competence. At that point, no digital banking medium can serve as an alternative.

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What Documents are Required to open a Bank Account in Nigeria?


The documents required to open a bank account in Nigeria vary depending on the bank in question and the type of account. However, there are general requirements that have been set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that all banks must satisfy. They include: 


  • Copies of nationally acceptable means of identification (NIN, Driver’s License, International Passport, National I.D Card and any other document deemed qualified by the bank)
  • Copies of passport photographs
  • Utility Bill issued within the last 3 months 
  • Your Bank Verification Number (BVN)


You need to provide these documents along with your personal information like full name, address, and contact (email & mobile phone). Also, note that some banks require an initial deposit during application. 

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How Long does it take for a Bank Account to be Activated? 


Bank accounts mostly get activated within 24 hours of opening. However, this time varies and could be more depending on the type of account. For example, a domiciliary account will take more time to be set up compared to a local account. 


How Can I Open an Account without BVN? 


No. You require a BVN to open an account with any bank in Nigeria. However, some mobile money accounts do not require that you provide a BVN. But they are more restricted and can't be operated like a traditional bank account. 

Bottom Line


Although technology has simplified the account opening process in Nigeria, there are still some KYC documents that need to be provided. From your basic contact information to valid ID, passport photograph and utility bills, these documents need to be provided to open a bank account in Nigeria.


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