At a time when you can pay bills online using a cell phone, it is amazing how many Nigerians still don’t have bank accounts. Almost two-fifth of the population is under-banked, lacking the full range of basic financial services.

In February 2014, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced the Bank Verification Number (BVN) to provide unique identities for all bank customers and other users of financial services in the country. Customers’ biometrics were taken for the identification of individual. The unique identity gives leverage for customers to undertake transactions at various banks.

Statistics from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc, (NIBSS), whose role it is to guide financial system automation in the banking sector, show that about 20.8 million bank customers enrolled over 40 million accounts in various banks under the BVN scheme as at October 25, 2015.

Even Nigerians that hold two or more accounts will be enrolled under one unique number, the NIBSS said. The financial system automation company said most Nigerians fall under this category.

However, Nigerians in diaspora were not left out, customers enrolled with Nigerian banks with branches abroad.

Even with the 40 million accounts in all the banks, still 40 percent of Nigeria’s population do not see the need to own a bank account.


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