How the Bank Verification Number (BVN) Is Enabling Crypto-Focused Services in Nigeria and West Africa


One of the biggest challenges of offering crypto-focused services is the somewhat anonymity aspect of these financial tools and services, which makes most banks cautious. However, a few countries in Africa, most notably Nigeria, have an easier verification system which has made crypto more acceptable.

The Bank Verification Number commonly called BVN is a biometric identification system implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria in alliance with the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) to curb or reduce illegal banking transactions in Nigeria.

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The BVN is an 11-digit number that acts as your universal ID in all banks in Nigeria. It is as important as owning a phone number for filling NIMC form, and other necessary forms inside and across the Nation.

BVN is also the easiest method of identity verification for mobile online transactions in Nigeria and other West African countries.

The BVN comprises of the following:

  • Government-issued ID Card: This can be a Voters Card, International Passport, Drivers License or National ID Card
  • Utility Payment Bills: This can be a receipt of electricity payments or other utilities
  • Thumb Print: This includes the user’s full fingerprint records recorded during the BVN issuance process
  • Phone Number: A valid phone number registered with the user’s full correct details
  • Identity Documents: The user will be required to fill a form which contains:
    •  Full Name
    •  Guardians/Parents Name
    •  Residence Address
    •  Next of Kin Details
    •  Name of Hometown
    •  Details of Local Government
    •  Nationality Status
    •  Signature etc

The BVN is a requirement for you to operate a bank account in Nigeria. It gives each bank customer a unique identity across the Nigerian Banking industry that can be used for easy identification and verification at Point of Banking operations.

Clearly, this system makes it easy or provides a great way for crypto exchanges and services to connect to the traditional financial system. As a result, it is no surprise that many fintechs and crypto services employ this identification system as part of its onboarding process.

The ability to link BVN also means that you can link different bank accounts and make use of any ATMs nationwide. This has opened a great opportunity for crypto companies in the country and helped speed up crypto adoption.

The BVN is accepted as a means of identification across ALL Nigerian banks and this ability to access banking operations means crypto can easily take off in such an environment.

You can also apply for your BVN outside of Nigeria in Australia, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, New Zealand, India, and Canada enabling you to interact with the Nigerian banking system from these jurisdictions.

Currently, BVN is being used by practically all crypto firms in Nigeria in addition to other additional KYC / AML requirements.




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