BVN- Unregistered customers Barred from operating account.

Following the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) June 31 deadline for customers to register for their Bank Verification Number (BVN), many banks will from today, June 1, restrict their unregistered customers from using their accounts.

While some banks have placed restrictions on transfers from accounts without the BVN, some others have restricted the use of e-channels, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and over the counter withdrawals on accounts without the BVN.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had in October given a December 31, 2014, deadline for all credit customers to have the BVNs.

Also banks are expected to have enrolled 40 per cent of their customers before the end of 2014, 70 per cent on or before March 31, 2015, and have all customers on board by the end of June 31, 2015. The BVN involves the registration of customers in the financial system using biometric technology to make their accounts more secure with unique identifiers such as fingerprint. It was introduced to reduce incidents of fraud and protect customer accounts from unauthorised access.

One of the banks in an email to customers stated that “Effective June 1, 2015, please note that you will not be able to transact with your card internationally at the ATM, POS or online without your Bank Verification Number.”

Another bank stated that “In line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s directive to ensure that all bank accounts are BVN compliant with effect from Monday, June 1, 2015, we are constrained to inform you that Third Party transfers (including Instant Payments, RTGS and Foreign Currency Transfers) can no longer be conducted on your accounts with us (via any of our channels) until your BVN registration is concluded.”

The CBN had earlier directed banks to only honour transactions over N100 million from customers with the BVN from March 2015. Such transactions, according to the apex bank, include but is not limited to money transfers, loans, and contingencies, among others. The CBN, which also urged all bank customers to register for their BVN by June 2015, has warned that any bank customer without a BVN would be deemed to have inadequate know-your-customers (KYC) by that date.

Meanwhile, the managing director of the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), Mr Ade Shonubi, has said that bank customers would not be charged for the BVN cards that would be issued to them after they have completed their registration.

The NIBSS boss, who is responsible for the implementation of the BVN, said, “We are giving the BVN cards out for free. The cost is borne by the Bankers’ Committee which considers the whole biometric project very important. They have been bearing the cost: the cost of the cards, cost of almost everything else, that has to do with the BVN.”

The BVN is an initiative aimed at protecting bank customers and further strengthening the Nigerian banking system. It is an initiative of the CBN, in conjunction with the Bankers’ Committee, meant to address the safety of customers’ funds, avoid losses through compromise of personal identification numbers and other criminal activities in the industry.

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