Banks in Nigeria have been given 30 days to close accounts that have not been linked to a biometric Bank Verification Number (BVN), The Nation reports.
The directive comes from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as part of a review of the BVN’s regulatory framework, in response to continued increases in fraud.
There were 57.39 million customer accounts linked to BVNs as of April 8, according to the latest figures from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS).
The CBN has placed 7,552 BVNs on a watch list for suspected fraudulent transactions, meanwhile, reports Independent. If the transactions are confirmed to be fraudulent, finding the perpetrators should be made easier by the fingerprint and face biometrics that are collected as part of BVN registration.
The Independent says that the report counts 148.46 million active accounts, and 130.57 million of them linked to BVNs, according to the latest CBN figures.
The CBN also issued a statement confirming that BVNs do not expire, contrary to reports that they last only ten years.
“Once a customer’s biometrics have been captured and enrolled in the database of NIBSS, the BVN remains for life,” CBN says in the announcement, referencing the Regulatory Framework issued in 2021.
BVNs are being registered at a pace of between one and two hundred thousand per month.