CBN move to freeze accounts without NIN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced a decision to prohibit financial transactions on bank accounts that do not have a Bank Verification Number (BVN) or National Identification Number (NIN) with effect from March 2024 as part of its effort to promote financial system stability.

In a circular to the commercial, merchant, non-interest and payment service banks, other financial institutions and mobile money operators, the CBN said effective immediately, any unfunded account/wallet will be placed on “Post No Debit or Credit” until the new process is satisfied.

“Effective March 1, 2024, all funded accounts or wallets shall be placed on “Post No Debit or Credit” and no further transactions permitted,” the apex bank said in the circular that was signed by both director, Payment System Management Department, Chibuzo Efobi, and director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Haruna Mustapha, on Friday.

“It is mandatory for ALL Tier-1 bank accounts and wallets for individuals to have BVN and/or NIN, it said, adding that “it remains mandatory for Tiers 2 & 3 accounts and wallets for Individual accounts to have BVN and NIN,” the apex bank stated.

The Central Bank warned that the BVN or NIN attached to and/or associated with all accounts/wallets must be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024, while also announcing that effective immediately, no new Tier1 accounts and wallets should be opened without BVN or NIN.

The CBN said a comprehensive BVN and NIN audit shall be conducted shortly and where breaches are identified, appropriate sanctions shall be applied.

“All financial institutions regulated by CBN are required to apply strict compliance on restrictions on Tier1 accounts/wallets as they relate to limits on transaction values and cumulative balances,” Efobi and Mustapha said in the circular.

The CBN said enrolment of new customers by manually creating a customer profile and subsequently attaching a BVN or NIN is strictly prohibited.

Where a BVN or NIN exists for a new customer, it directs the financial institution to use the same to electronically check the BVN database at the NIBSS portal and NIN at NIMC portal. It also asked the financial institutions to electronically retrieve and retain the underlying details (Names, DoB, Gender, Phone No, etc) as authentic customer details.

The apex bank said the use of any ‘placeholder BVN or NIN’ to support the creation of any customer profile is strictly prohibited and would be sanctioned accordingly.

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