Today, the gist is all about your Bank Verification Number, also known as BVN. If you have a bank account or any form of formal financial needs (getting a loan, using digital payments etc), your BVN is the key to everything. Whether you want to open a bank account, get a loan, set up a company account or use any existing financial service in Nigeria, your BVN serves as your ID card.
The CBN mandates that every Nigerian with a bank account in Nigeria (even if you don’t live in Nigeria) must have a BVN and there are various reasons behind this. For one, having a way to identify people is very important to a lot of financial services.
For example, in giving out loans we have to be able to identify & verify the identities of the people we are lending money (so that we can collect) as well as confirm that the owner of the account is who they say they are (so that the right person gets the loan). Also, if you have multiple accounts with different banks (as most of us do), having a BVN helps your banks work with each other to deliver more efficient services to you.
So, why is Ayokola (and your bank) always telling you to NEVER share your BVN with strangers? It is simply because your BVN is your financial ID card, anyone could use it to access some of your information and orchestrate fraud.
For example, someone calls to inform you that your FairMoney account has a BVN error, gives you more information about yourself ( e.g Date of Birth and Full Name) to convince you that he/she is a real staff. Then proceed by asking you to provide your PIN, credit or debit card details which are actually the sensitive information that could lead to money being stolen from your account.
Note that no one can access funds in your account by just being in possession of your BVN details just as nothing can be done with any other of your identity cards. But picture your BVN as a gateway to your finances and never post your BVN on public forums, social media and you shouldn’t give it out to any person, app or entity you can’t trust.
If anyone calls you on the phone or sends you an email/text, requesting for your BVN and you are having doubts, reach out to your bank/financial service provider and ask them directly if they need your information.
As the elders say, a word is enough for the wise. Ensure you protect your BVN and other Personal Security Details – it could save you a lot of stress, and money.
As always, when you win, we win. To the moon!