The need to operate a financial system that cannot be compromised has prompted the introduction of biometrics technology in the Nigerian banking system.
Biometrics is the use of biological characteristics such as fingerprints or iris patterns to identify a person to an electronic system. The technology identifies an individual based on physiological or behavioural attributes.
On February 14, 2014, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through the Bankers’ Committee and in collaboration with all banks in Nigeria launched a centralised biometric identification system for the banking industry labelled Bank Verification Number (BVN).
According to the apex financial regulator, the purpose of the BVN project is to use biometric information as a means of first identifying and verifying all individuals that have account(s) in any Nigerian bank and consequently, as a means of authenticating customer’s identity at point of transactions.
[blockquote right=”pull-right” cite=”CBN”]“The architects of the anti-fraud technology reckon that since no two persons have the same biometric features, the project will address issues of identity theft and reduce exposure to fraud.”[/blockquote]
According to CBN, bank customers stand to benefit from the BVN project. For customers, duly enrolled customers’ bank accounts will be protected from unauthorised access. The architects of the anti-fraud technology reckon that since no two persons have the same biometric features, the project will address issues of identity theft and reduce exposure to fraud.
On the service enhancement side, the project will ensure a more efficient banking operation that will reduce unnecessarily long queues in banking halls.
For the banks, the BVN will enhance their ability to fish out blacklisted customers and help them reduce the incidence of fraudulent loan transactions.
Bank customers are encouraged to personally visit any branch of their banks on or before June 30 to enrol for the exercise.
According to the guideline, bank customers with more than one bank account, enrolment is required at only one bank. The BVN can be taken to the other banks to update their records. Customers who fail to enrol after the deadline will only be able to perform limited operations on the accounts.
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