The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned that it will freeze any account without a Bank Verification Number (BVN) and National Identification Number (NIN) starting from April 2024.
A circular released by the apex bank, Friday, revealed that a “Post no Debit” restriction, to prevent customers from making transactions will be put on all all existing Tier-1 accounts/wallets without BVN or NIN”.
According to the circular signed by CBN Director of Payments System Management Department Chibuzo Efobi, and the Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department Haruna Mustapha, “Effective immediately, any unfunded account/wallet shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ until the new process is satisfied. Effective March 1, 2024, all funded accounts or wallets shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ and no further transactions permitted.”
The apex said the move is part of efforts aimed at promoting financial system stability and strengthening of the Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures in financial institutions.
CBN further disclosed that it will undertake comprehensive BVN and NIN audit shortly and where it identifies breaches, appropriate sanctions shall be applied.
The statement reads in part:: “The process for account opening shall commence by electronically retrieving BVN or NIN-related information from the NIBSS’ BVN or NIMC’s NIN databases and for same to become the primary information for onboarding of new customers, and all existing customer accounts/wallets for individuals with validated BVN shall be profiled in the NIBSS’ ICAD immediately and within 24hrs of opening accounts/wallets,” the apex bank said.
For potential customers who do not have BVN or NIN, the CBN advised the regulated financial institution to start the process of enrolling the person onto the BVN system.
The 3-tiered KYC requirements by the Central Bank of Nigeria are designed to facilitate flexible account opening requirements for “low-value”, “medium-value” and “high-value” accounts as defined by the released guideline.