Abuja, Nigeria. November 17th, 2015 – A poll conducted based on a partnership between NOIPolls Limited and BusinessDay Media has revealed that banked Nigerians have a positive perception (72 percent) towards the Bank Verification Number (BVN) introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as they believe the BVN will improve ‘account security’ (29 percent), ‘control fraud/corruption’ (22 percent) and ‘monitor transaction and cash flow’ (11 percent) in nation's banking sector, amongst other reasons. On the other hand, some Nigerians (28 percent) with opposite views indicated that the BVN is not important to them in any way because ‘they do not know the aim’ (78 percent) of the exercise, and that ‘it may enhance fraud’ (5 percent) among other reasons.
More findings revealed that the vast majority (88 percent) of the respondents interviewed showed awareness of the BVN initiative, and 86 percent of banked respondents claimed that they have registered for the BVN with their respective banks, while 14 percent of the respondents haven’t complied with the policy and the majority of respondents in this category mostly indicated they ‘haven’t had time’ (61 percent) to do so, while 9 percent claimed they were discouraged by the long queues in banks during the exercise.
Still on compliance to the BVN policy, 47 percent of respondents who have registered for a BVN confirmed they have linked their BVN with their other bank accounts, whereas some respondents who have registered for the BVN have either not completely linked it to all their other accounts (17 percent) or have not linked it to their other accounts at all (7 percent). This finding supports the report from the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), which disclosed that only 14.4 million BVNs have been linked to other bank accounts out of the total of 21 million BVN holders in the country.
Finally, while some Nigerians have clearly indicated the importance of the BVN to them as banked citizens, it is pertinent that more sensitization programs are carried out by stakeholders, on the importance of the BVN in the Nigerian banking system. This should be done with special consideration given to Nigerians who have low access to information, in order to ensure complete compliance to the BVN policy.
Bank Verification Number (BVN) is a data system that captures bank customers’ biometrics, such as fingerprints, facial structures and signatures and provides unique identification for them and equally protects their accounts from unauthorized access, identity theft and fraud. Biometric identification has been embraced globally as a result of the incessant security breaches of the regular passwords and personal Identification numbers (PIN).
The BVN was launched in Nigeria on the 14th of February, 2014 by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) after meeting with banks in the country. The major benefit of the BVN, among others, is that it is a centralized biometric identification system which gives a matchless identity to each banks customer and can be accessible across all Nigerian Banks, hence identity and fraud is put to check.
The initial deadline for BVN registration In Nigeria was June 30, 2015. The date was later extended to October 31, 2015 to ensure a smooth achievement of the registration process and to also accommodate the bank customers that were unable to meet up with the initial deadline.
Customers in the diaspora were also given the opportunity to enrol by providing various outlets for them overseas where they can register. It was initially chaotic as a large number of people trooped to the banks, waited on long queues to be enrolled so as to beat the initial deadline, until it was extended till October 31, 2015 even as banks across country claimed to have registered about 21 million customers as at then. Recently, the CBN through its Director of Corporate Communications, Ibrahim Muazu directed all banks to continue the registration indefinitely and that the only restrictions on an account that is yet to be duly registered will be on ‘withdrawals’.
To gauge the awareness of Nigerians on the introduction of the BVN, respondents were asked: Are you aware of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in February 14th 2014? The survey revealed that almost 9 in 10 (88 percent) Nigerians are aware of the introduction of BVN by the Central Bank of Nigeria, whereas 12 percent claimed that they are not aware.
Further analysis by age-group indicates that the largest number of Nigerians who were not aware of the introduction of the BVN are 61 years and above.
To ascertain the proportion of Nigerians who have registered for the BVN, respondents were asked: Have you registered for the Bank Verification Number (BVN)? It is worthy to note that this question was directed to banked respondents. Respondents who indicated they did not have an account with any bank had their interviews terminated at this point. The results showed that almost three-fourth of Nigerians (86 percent) claimed that they have registered their BVN with their respective banks, while 14 percent asserted that they have not registered for the exercise.
Analysis by geo-political zones revealed that the North-East zone (18 percent) and North-West zone (20 percent) accounted for the largest ratio of Nigerians who have not registered for the BVN.
Respondents who have complied with the BVN policy were further asked: Have you linked your BVN to your other bank accounts? The larger proportion (47 percent) of respondents in this category confirmed they have completely linked their BVN with all their other bank accounts, whereas 17 percent of the respondents have linked their BVN with only some of their bank accounts. On the other hand, 7 percent indicated that they have not linked their BVN with any of their other bank accounts, while 29 percent asserted that they only have one bank account.
Further analysis on age-groups showed that those aged 61 years and above have the highest number of Nigerians who have only one bank account, while those between 46-60 years accounted for the highest share of Nigerians who have admitted to linking their BVN with their other bank accounts
Subsequently, 13 percent of the respondents who have not complied with the BVN policy were further asked: Why have you not registered for the BVN? Majority, (69 percent) stated that they haven’t complied with the policy because they ‘haven’t had time’ to do so. Also, 9 percent claimed that they were discouraged by the ‘long queues in banks’ among other reasons. In addition, 12 percent revealed that they have not registered because ‘they have no money in their bank account’.
More analysis by age-group revealed that all the respondents aged 61 year and above age group (100 percent) indicated that they have no money in their account, hence they did not register.
Due to the increasing incidents of compromise on conventional security systems, there is a high demand for greater security for access to sensitive or personal information in the Banking System. In line with this, respondents who have their BVN were asked: In your opinion, do you think that the BVN is important to you in any way? The outcome revealed that a large proportion (72 percent) of Nigerians think the BVN is of importance to them and majority of respondents in this category were residents of the North-West zone (82 percent). Conversely, 28 percent stated that the BVN is not important to them in any way and a higher percentage of respondents (45 percent) in the section are residents of the South-East zone.
Finally, respondents were asked to give their reason for or against the importance of BVN to them. Most respondents who indicated the BVN is of importance to them (72 percent of the total) stated reasons such as ‘account security’ (29 percent), ‘control of fraud/corruption’ (22 percent) and ‘monitoring of transaction and cash flow’ (11 percent) in banks amongst other reasons.
On the other hand, Nigerians who responded negatively regarding the importance of the BVN (28 percent of the total) mainly indicated ‘they do not know the aim’ (78 percent) of the exercise. While other indicated that ‘it doesn’t make any difference to them’, some think ‘it may enhance fraud’ among other reasons.
In conclusion, about 9 in 10 Nigerians are aware of the Bank Verification Number introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria and 86 percent of respondents who are banked have registered with their respective banks. While this exercise is still on going, Nigerians have a positive perception (72 percent) of the BVN as they believe that the BVN will improve ‘account security’ (29 percent), ‘control fraud/corruption’ (22 percent) and ‘monitor transaction and cash flow’ (11 percent) in banks amongst other reasons. On the other hand, some Nigerians (28 percent) indicated that the BVN is not important to them in any way because ‘they do not know the aim’ (78 percent) of the exercise, and that ‘it may enhance fraud’ (5 percent) among other reasons.
The opinion poll was conducted in week of 9th November 2015. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise - within a range of plus or minus 2.5%.
NOIPolls Limited, No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com.
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BusinessDay, established in 2001, is a daily business newspaper based in Lagos, Nigeria. It is the only Nigerian newspaper with a bureau in Accra, Ghana. BusinessDay Media Ltd is the leading medium for up-to-date news and insightful analysis of business, policy and the economy in Nigeria, a critical decision-making tool for investors and managers. It provides unbiased news and informed analysis on politics, governance, social and economic trends.
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