CBN: Bank Customers’ BVN Enrolment Hits 33.6 Million

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• Apex bank directs banks to resolve USSD disputes in 3 days
Nume Ekeghe

The number of bank customers that have registered for the Bank Verification Number (BVN) rose to 33,583,538 on June 24, 2018 from 30,655,000 in October 2017, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said. This represents an increase of 2,928,538 or 9.55 per cent over the eight-month period.

This is just as the CBN has directed all commercial banks to resolve disputes arising from use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) channel within three days.

Speaking at the ‘Meet The Executive’ forum organised by Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) in Lagos, the CBN Director, Banking & Payment System Department, Mr. ‘Dipo Fatokun, described the introduction of the BVN initiative as one of the success stories in the financial system.

He said: “BVN is another thing of great success and a very fantastic initiative we launched which provides customers with unique identification and can be verifies across the Nigerian banking industry.

“Just as development usually ride on another, the BVN has provided a basis for a lot of offerings to happen in the financial services industry. We now see people offering credit, ability to open bank accounts on the go, and so on.”

Also speaking on USSD resolutions, Fatokun said the central bank believed quick resolution would help build more confidence in the payment system and bring more people into the financial services net.

He said some provisions of the regulatory framework for USSD such as the authentication measures for transactions, International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI), Date of SIM Swap, Date of Device change, International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI), among others were meant to make the channel more effective.

Fatokun, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Banking & Payments System Department, Taiwo Oladimeji, said maximum USSD transaction limit remained N100, 000 per customer per day, adding that any amount above that required customer to execute indemnity at the bank.

Speaking on the theme: “Half-year Review of Developments in the E-Payment Industry and Customer Protection, Fatokun said: “USSD transactions above N20,000 require two-factor authentication (2FA). No USSD financial service should be activated for customer unless the deactivation mechanism is put in place with effect from October, 2018.

“In addition, the CBN is currently working to properly structure and formalise the sandbox arrangement in Nigeria by collaborating with some infrastructure providers like the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) to interact with FinTechs.”
Fatokun added that the financial system was undergoing transformation through technology. According to him, that is not only peculiar to the financial services sector, but all sectors of human endeavours.

“We are seeing new operators with technology-savvy and more efficient models, and collaborations among new entrants as well as established participants in payments systems in ways that exhibit regulatory challenges.
“To meet up with the challenges, some countries have adopted regulatory sandbox approach, which is not totally novel to the CBN. We are however working to properly structure and formalise the sandbox arrangement in Nigeria by collaborating with some infrastructure providers to interact with FinTechs,” he said.
Fatokun said a well-functioning National Payment System (NPS) was crucial to the financial sector development as it increases confidence in the financial sector by ensuring a credible, reliable and efficient payment system.

He added that in recent years, the Nigerian payment landscape had experienced a lot of innovation, reaching the unbanked and undeserved.
Speaking further, the CBN director said consumer protection, involved a whole range of laws, policies, structures, actions and behaviours designed to protect consumers from the abuse and exploitation of service providers.
“Consumer protection is critical in improving access and usage of financial products and services. Ensures that increase access and usage of financial services, translate into benefits for the economy and individuals.

“It helps protect consumers from probable market abuse and exploitation, helps consumers benefit from well-informed decisions, and helps consumers appreciate how best to use and manage financial products and services,” he said.
“While the evolution of payments system has shown a move towards digital and e-payments, the coming together of stakeholders, deliberating on issues and coming up with noble recommendations, would improve and ultimately strengthen consumers’ confidence in the safety, security and reliability of our payments system,” he added.