The Nigerian Central Bank may have succeeded in getting Nigerians into the banks to sign on their Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) back in June. But there is another important problem. How do you remember it – the BVN – having gotten it?
The BVN – what the CBN says will be universal identifiers in Nigeria for all bank accounts owned by an individual – is only the latest in a long list of numbers we have to commit to our quickly depleting memory.
Local telco, Etisalat Nigeria and the Nigerian Inter Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS), the outfit that oversees inter-bank payments and settlement among Nigeria banks, are trying to help.
Both firms have launched a query service, the BVN Query Service, that will help users have access to their verification number anytime.
By dialing the *565*0* on an Etisalat line, users can retrieve their BV number and use it for whatever they need it for at the time. But it’s for a fee. Each query will set the user back by NGN10 each time it is sent. I think it’s a steep price for such service, hopefully after using the code a few times, the number begins to stick.
“We are happy to be the first to offer this product among the operators because we believe that innovation is the way the telecoms industry must lead,” says Francesco Angelone, Etisalat Nigeria, Chief marketing officer.
Etisalat is the first to fill this space, but I suspect other telcos, MTN, Glo and Airtel, will get on this trend soon and hopefully for a lesser cost. NIBSS’ Managing Director, Ade Shonubi, says that Airtel has already indicated interest in a similar service.
NIBSS says that over 20 million customers have registered bank verification numbers in an exercise that will now come to head in October, after the initial June deadline was moved forward.