Everything You Need to Know About Bank Verification Number (BVN)

Everything You Need to Know About Bank Verification Number (BVN)

Bank Verification Number

As of October 2023, nearly 59 million Nigerians possess a BVN. This is because as a Nigerian, your bank verification number is possibly the most important set of numbers you need as a citizen operating any form of finances. Understanding how critical it is, there are a few facts and tips you need to know about this 11-digit number.

Thankfully, in this article, we’d answer all possible questions you might have about the BVN and a few other information to keep you ahead of the crowd.

What is the Bank Verification Number?

The BVN (biometric verification number) is an 11-digit number that is used to identify you uniquely across all Nigerian banks. This means that your one BVN is a recognised form of identity everywhere, no matter the bank you walk into.

Gone are the days when you needed your passport, utility bill, driver’s licence or any other form of identification to perform specific bank transactions. With your BVN, banks would be able to identify you and access all relevant information, making your transactions easier, faster and a lot more convenient.

Basically: your BVN is your Banking and KYC (Know your customer) ID.

What are biometrics?

Biometrics in the context of BVN refers to using your specific human features that are difficult for anyone else to imitate or fake to identify and verify your identity.

Now, when we talk about biometrics for BVN in Nigeria, it doesn’t involve high-tech gadgets like retinal or DNA scanners. As of now, the biometrics they collect from you are:

  1. Fingerprints: They record the unique patterns of your fingerprints, specifically your 10-digit fingerprints.
  2. Photograph (Headshot): They take a clear picture of your face, commonly referred to as a headshot. This helps banks confirm that the person using the BVN is the same person who registered.
  3. Biodata: This includes your basic personal information, like your name, date of birth, and other identifying details.

These three elements – fingerprints, a headshot, and biodata – create a strong and secure way to ensure that you are who you say you are when you’re dealing with your bank accounts.

It’s like having a secret code that only belongs to you, making it very hard for anyone else to pretend to be you or access your accounts without permission.

Why was the BVN created?

The Bank Verification Number was introduced in the Nigerian banking system to address critical security concerns and enhance the safety of customers’ personal and financial information. Conventional security methods, such as passwords and PINs, were proving to be increasingly vulnerable, leading to unauthorized access to bank accounts. This created a need to strengthen security measures and protect individuals’ sensitive data within the banking sector.

To combat these issues, the Central Bank of Nigeria, in collaboration with all Nigerian banks, launched the BVN initiative in February 2014. This biometric identification system was designed to provide a robust layer of security to the payment systems and banking operations in the country.

The core purpose of the BVN is to offer each banking customer a unique and unambiguous identity that can be consistently identified and verified across the entire Nigerian Banking Industry. This means that regardless of which bank a customer is dealing with, their identity remains consistent and secure.

It further, makes it exceptionally challenging for fraudsters to impersonate bank customers or gain unauthorized access to accounts.

What is the importance of the Bank Verification Number?

According to the CBN, the BVN offers. It gives each person a unique number, so it doesn’t matter which bank they use. It’s like your personal number that all banks recognize.

When you want to borrow money, banks can quickly check your financial history with this number. It makes getting loans or credit cards faster and easier.

It’s a reliable way to prove who you are. So, when you do bank transactions or open an account, they can be sure it’s you.

If you make a transaction, you can’t later say you didn’t do it because your BVN proves it was you.

How do I get my Bank Verification Number?

Unfortunately, because of Biometrics, your BVN cannot be gotten online. However, your BVN can be done at any bank branch you have an account with.

They’ll give you a form to fill out. This form is called the BVN Enrolment form. Complete it with your information.

You’ll need to give them some special information about you. This includes things like your fingerprints and a picture of your face (that’s the facial image).

After you’ve done all this, they’ll give you a piece of paper called an acknowledgement slip. It has a special ID number on it that’s all about your BVN.

Within a day (24 hours), their computer system checks everything you’ve done and confirms your application. They’ll create your BVN and send you a text message (SMS) to let you know it’s ready to be picked up.

BVN Enrolment Requirements

  1. Means of identification (international passport, voter card, national identity card, driver’s license) with a clear picture
  2. A complete enrolment form

How to link your existing bank accounts to your BVN

Your BVN is not a bank account number. And you do not need multiple BVNs for all your bank accounts. Rather, you’d need to link the one BVN to all your accounts. Here’s how to do it;

After completing the registration for your BVN, you will need to wait for approximately 24 hours. Your BVN will be generated and sent to you via SMS to the phone number you provided during registration.

Now, you can proceed to your other banks, let’s call them Bank B and Bank C, where you have accounts.

At each of these banks, inform the bank personnel that you have obtained a BVN and wish to link it to your account. Then, follow the appropriate steps they give you,

 You can follow the same procedure for any other bank where you hold an account, repeating the steps as required.

When do I get my BVN card?

Your bank will contact you to let you know that your BVN card, which looks similar to an ATM card, is ready for pickup. Once you have this card, you won’t need to provide any other forms of identification when you visit the bank. Simply show your BVN card, and you’ll be attended to without the need for additional IDs like your international passport, driver’s license, or national ID card.

Can I get a BVN without coming to Nigeria?

If you’re in the diaspora and want to enrol for a BVN without coming to Nigeria, you can follow these steps:

First, you’d need to initiate your BVN enrolment process by visiting the Online Integrated Solutions (OIS) or VFS Global website. There you’d choose the city where you are located from the options available.

Click on the BVN Enrolment Tab. This option will guide you through the BVN enrolment process. Take your time to go through the instructions to understand the process.

Download and fill out the BVN enrolment form as directed.

Once that is done, schedule an appointment for your biometric data capture. After booking your appointment, make sure to print the booking slip for reference.

On the appointed date, visit the BVN enrolment centre in the city you selected.

Additionally, you will need to log onto the NIBSS (Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System) website and click the “LINK BVN TO ACCOUNT” tab.

You will receive a username and password in your registered email account after capturing your biometric data. Use these credentials to link your BVN to your existing Nigerian bank accounts. This linkage ensures that your BVN is associated with all your bank accounts across Nigerian banks.

Requirements for BVN Enrolment outside Nigeria:

  • Valid ID: You will need a valid identification document, such as a driver’s license or an international passport.
  • One recent passport photograph.
  • Enrolment fee or evidence of payment of the enrolment fee.

How to check your BVN online?

To check your BVN there are two methods available:

  1. Using a USSD code
  2. The BVN validation portal.

How to check BVN Using a USSD Code:

This method is straightforward and doesn’t require an internet connection. Dial *565*# on your mobile phone, and make sure you use the same phone number that you used for BVN registration. Your BVN number will be displayed on your phone screen.

How to check BVN Through the BVN Validation Portal:

This method can be done through the NIBBS portal. Here are the steps:

  • Log in to the NIBBS portal.
  • Input your BVN and the date of birth used during registration.
  • Click the search button.
  • Select the preferred means of payment (usually a service charge of N25) and complete the payment.
  • After confirming your payment, you will be redirected to a page that displays your specific BVN details.

Bottom line

BVN is a crucial and sensitive identification number that every Nigerian citizen should handle with the utmost care.

I hope this article has provided you with clear answers to the major questions you may have had about the BVN. If you ever have more questions or concerns about your BVN, your bank is the best place to seek assistance and guidance.


Can one person have two BVN numbers?

It’s one BVN per person. You are not meant to have more than one BVN. Your BVN does not change from bank to bank.

Can I change my Bank Verification Number?


Can I block my BVN and get a new one?

Each person is supposed to have only one BVN (Bank Verification Number). If you’ve already enrolled and obtained a BVN in the past, you should not enrol again, as it will not generate a new BVN. The system is designed to ensure that each individual has a unique and consistent identification number across all Nigerian banks.

If you mistakenly register again for another BVN, you will not receive a refund of any fees paid for the enrolment process. In case you have any questions or concerns related to your BVN, it’s advisable to contact your bank for assistance.

Can I edit my BVN details online?

To edit your details, go to the same bank where you got your BVN and tell them you need to update your biodata. Regardless, your BVN number remains the same.

Can I change my BVN phone number?

Again, to edit any biodata, you’d have to visit your Bank Branche physically.

Do I need to submit my BVN to get a loan?

Sometimes. For authentication purposes, if you’re performing banking transactions (e.g. applying for loans) you are required to identify yourself using your biometric features which will be matched against information in the central database. Using your BVN makes the process simpler and faster.

How to retrieve BVN without a phone number.

In the case of misplacing your phone or losing the line linked to your BVN, don’t panic. Your BVN isn’t lost forever.

Visit the nearest bank branch in your area to complain, and request for your BVN. You will be required to fill in certain information that will prove your right of access to the BVN in question, so go prepared.

My BVN is blocked. What should I do?

If your BVN is blocked, then it means one of the bank accounts linked to it has been flagged to be involved in one fraudulent activity or the other. If you’re sure it was a mistake, simply visit the nearest branch of your bank to complain.

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