If you have a bank account or any form of formal financial needs (getting a loan, using digital payments etc), your BVN is important to everything. Whether you want to open a bank account, get a bank loan, set up a company account or use any existing financial service in Nigeria, your BVN serves as your ID card.
The CBN mandates that every Nigerian with a bank account in Nigeria (even if you don’t live in Nigeria) must have a BVN and there are various reasons behind this. For one, having a way to identify people is very important to a lot of financial services.
For example, in giving out loans we have to be able to identify & verify the identities of the people we are lending money (so that we can collect) as well as confirm that the owner of the account is who they say they are (so that the right person gets the loan). Also, if you have multiple accounts with different banks (as most of us do), having a BVN helps your banks work with each other to deliver more efficient services to you.
So, why does your financial institution always telling you to NEVER share your BVN? Well, the answer is simple: to prevent fraud stars from gaining access to your bank account and steal your money. Can you see now that, because your BVN is more or less like your financial ID card, anyone that gains access to it could use it to get all your financial data and use it for bad intentions.
For example, with your BVN, fraudsters can get your account number, the phone number you use for OTP and the rest of your financial information. With these details, they can take loans on your behalf without your knowledge, use your ATM cards to purchase items online and even withdraw/transfer money from your account.
Think about it like this: let’s say your financial life is a door and your BVN is the key to that door. Now imagine that you gave someone you don’t know or can’t verify that key and imagine the havoc they can cause. That’s exactly why your account can be hacked if you share your BVN on public forums, social media and even giving it out to any person, applications or entity you can’t trust.
Anyone that calls you on the phone or sends you an email/text, requesting for your BVN is fraudulent. YOUR ACCOUNT CAN BE HACKED IF YOU SHARE YOUR BVN WITH THEM. If you have doubts, reach out to your bank/financial service provider and ask them directly if they need your information.
Like the elders say, a word is enough for the wise. Ensure you protect your BVN at all times – it could save you a lot of stress, and money.