Fact-Check: Does BVN Expire After 10 Years of Enrollment?
Claim: There was a claim that the Bank Verification Number (BVN) being issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will expire after a period of 10 years.
According to the claim as shown in a widely circulated video, the claimant said CBN made it compulsory for everybody to visit his/her bank to re-enroll for the BVN after 10 years. This was to enable the bearer to update information such as photo and address of domicile which might have changed over the years but the number (BVN) remain unchanged.
Thus, the claimer called the attention of the citizens to get aware, while showing concern that a lot of BVN will expire next year as the process was initiated in the year 2014.
” So for those in Diaspora and in Nigeria should be getting ready in 2024 which is 10 years from when the BVN started…for those of you that did yours in 2015 or 2016, then it will expire in 2025 or 2026 just like that,” he added.
Verification: A keyword search by PRNigeria led to a page posted on the CBN portal in the year 2015 where Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and answers regarding BVN were provided by the apex bank.
However, it is surprising that the page has been removed and could no longer be found on the bank website.
Nonetheless, PRNigeria was able to employ its Fact-Checking tools used for recovering deleted items to retrieve the online version and PDF document of the FAQs and answers on BVN as posted by the CBN on its website earlier in 2015.
In the retrieved FAQs document under Question 12, the CBN stated categorically that the BVN would expire after 10 years of issuance, thus, the customer must go back to his/her bank to re-enroll.
However, in a statement released on May 10, 2023, the CBN debunked the said assertion, adding that the “BVN Issued in Nigeria Has No Expiry Date.”
The statement reads as follow;
“The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to reports suggesting that the Bank Verification Number (BVN) issued by the Bank in collaboration with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) expires after a ten-year period.
“Contrary to these claims, we wish to clarify that the BVN issued in Nigeria has no expiry date. Once a customer’s biometrics have been captured and enrolled in the database of NIBSS, the BVN remains for life.
“However, the Regulatory Framework for BVN issued by the CBN in 2021 stipulates that customers can only change their records due to certain conditions spelt out in the document and after being cleared by relevant authorities.
“Therefore, we urge bank customers in the country, especially those whose biometrics have been captured by the system, to continue using their unique identifiers as they last their entire lifetime.”
PRNigeria, while tracing the history of BVN, it was learnt that the Central Bank of Nigeria, in collaboration with the Bankers Committee, proactively embarked upon the deployment of a centralized Bank Verification System and launched the Bank Verification Number (BVN), in February, 2014.
This is part of the overall strategy of ensuring effectiveness of the Know Your Customer (KYC) principles, and the promotion of a safe, reliable and efficient payments system. The BVN gives a unique identity across the banking Industry to each customer of Nigerian banks.
This Framework also defines the establishment and operations of a Watch-list for the Nigerian Banking Industry, to address the increasing incidences, of frauds, with a view to engendering public confidence in the banking industry.
On May 03, 2023, CBN stated that, out of 200 million Nigerians, only 57.4million possess BVN.
Conclusion/Verdict: Based on the data gathered by PRNigeria, it is true that CBN had once published a document on its website (which has been retracted presently) where it was explicitly stated that the BVN expires after 10 years of enrollment.
However, with the recent circular issued by CBN where it confirmed and reassured the validity of BVN even after a decade, thus, the claim that the BVN expires after 10 years of issuance as widely circulated in the video is therefore MISLEADING.
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