Friday, 23 March 2018

Issued BVNs rise to 32.4m

The number of bank verification numbers (BVNs) issued to customers by banks have increased to 32.4 million as at March 18, this year, data obtained from the Nigerian Interbank Settlements Systems (NIBSS) has revealed.

New Telegraph gathered that as at last December, the total number of BVNs issued so far by the banks was 31.4 million.

This year, of the over 90 million bank accounts in the country cutting across individual and corporate, only 51.7 million bank accounts had been linked with BVNs as at the end of February this year.
As at last January, 50.9 million bank accounts had been linked, compared with 2.24 million and 2.7 million linked as at 2016 and 2017 respectively.
In February of 2016 and 2017, the total number of linked bank accounts stood at 30.13 million and 31.11 million respectively.

Commenting, the Chief Executive Officer of NIBSS, Mr. Ade Shonubi, said with the increase in the number of BVNs issued by the banks where it has surpassed 32.4 million as at January, this year, the confidence in the e-payment system is building up by the day because of the many benefits it brings into the system.

He said: “With the increasing incidents of compromise on conventional security systems (password and personal identification number (PIN), there is a high demand for greater security for access to sensitive or personal information in the banking system. In recent times, biometric technologies have been used to analyse human characteristics as an enhanced form of authentication for real-time security processes.

“BVN is giving us a unique identity that can be verified across the Nigerian banking industry (not peculiar to one Bank); customers bank accounts are protected from unauthorised access with BVN; it is also addressing issues of identity theft, thus reduce exposure to fraud.

“The BVN will enhance the banking industry chances of being able to fish out blacklisted customers, reduce queue in banking halls and standardise efficiency of banking operations, among others.”
The NIBSS boss, in an interview with this newspaper, said Nigeria has positioned itself ahead of many countries with the BVN initiative.

“Nigeria has done something that many other countries have never done and it is called Bank Verification Number (BVN). Not that the country did not have national ID scheme, but the BVN intervention is specific-for-purpose and what we have done is to take the BVN and built it around the structures that assist the banking industry,” he said.

Meanwhile, Shonubi explained that in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) circular on Electronic Payments Incentive Scheme Program (EPISP) released on September 18, 2014, NIBSS has been mandated to work in collaboration with other payment service providers across the value chain to host periodic awards geared towards incentivising industry operators to drive innovation and efficiency in the provision of payment services and products.

The “CBN Electronic Payments Efficiency Awards” is an annual ceremony, which plays host to Payment System Services Providers across the value chain.
The event, according to Shonubi, creates an opportunity to recognise, encourage, reward and appreciate the efforts of stakeholders in the electronic payments space in Nigeria and to also encourage adoption and usage across channels including those that promote financial inclusion.

“The EPIS initiative’s aim is to drive growth and development of the CBN cashless initiative by encouraging increased performance and efficiency by industry stakeholders; encourage healthy co-opetition amongst stakeholders and drive innovation in provision of payment services.

Others, according to him, are to recognise and encourage other indirect stakeholder groups working together in driving the cashless culture. The scope of the awards is based on performance, efficiency and Innovation in the provision of payment services and all award parameters are via data from the National Central Switch of NIBSS, CBN and survey/voting process within the year under review.

“So far, the annual efficiency awards have accrued some benefits amongst, which include but not limited to impressive growth in innovative payment channels such as the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), mobile, contactless solutions and so on; increased transparency amongst stakeholders in the industry, Shonubi said.

Also through e-payment adoption, failure and fraud rates are declining increasingly on various channels such as the point of sales (POS) and NIBSS Instant Payment (NIP) platforms, while there has been radical increase in stakeholder collaboration all geared towards efficiency; better integration of systems.

“I can tell you that, today, stakeholders have embraced and are more aligned to the initiative; more competition amongst banks with attendant efficiency and service delivery enhancement,” he said.

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