The Bank Verification Number (BVN) issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was initially to expire after 10 years, PRNigeria Fact-Check discovers.
The factcheck was conducted after a viral video disclosed the expiry date, which was later denied by the CBN.
While ascertaining the truth in the claim, a keyword search by PRNigeria led to a page posted on the CBN portal in the year 2015 where Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and answers regarding BVN were provided by the apex bank.
However, it is surprising that the page has been removed and could no longer be found on the bank website.
Nonetheless, PRNigeria was able to employ its Fact-Checking tools used for recovering deleted items to retrieve the online version and PDF document of the FAQs and answers on BVN as posted by the CBN on its website earlier in 2015.
In the retrieved FAQs document under Question 12, the CBN stated categorically that the BVN would expire after 10 years of issuance. Thus, the customer must go back to his/her bank to re-enroll
However, in a statement released on May 10, 2023, the CBN debunked the said assertion, adding that the “BVN Issued in Nigeria Has No Expiry Date.”
The statement reads as follows:
“The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to reports suggesting that the Bank Verification Number (BVN) issued by the Bank in collaboration with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) expires after a ten-year period.
“Contrary to these claims, we wish to clarify that the BVN issued in Nigeria has no expiry date. Once a customer’s biometrics have been captured and enrolled in the database of NIBSS, the BVN remains for life.
“However, the Regulatory Framework for BVN issued by the CBN in 2021 stipulates that customers can only change their records due to certain conditions spelt out in the document and after being cleared by relevant authorities.
“Therefore, we urge bank customers in the country, especially those whose biometrics have been captured by the system, to continue using their unique identifiers as they last their entire lifetime.”
Based on the data gathered by PRNigeria, it is true that CBN had once published a document on its website (which has been retracted presently) where it was explicitly stated that the BVN expires after 10 years of enrollment.
However, with the recent circular issued by CBN where it confirmed and reassured the validity of BVN even after a decade, the claim that the BVN expires after 10 years of issuance as widely circulated in the video, is therefore MISLEADING.