Today, the gist is all about your Bank Verification Number, also known as BVN. If you have a bank account or any form of formal financial needs (getting a loan, using digital payments etc), your BVN is the key to everything. Whether you want to open a bank account, get a FairMoney 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 is FairMoney (and your bank) always telling you to NEVER share your BVN? Well, the answer is simple: so that fraudsters don’t gain access to all your hard-earned money. You see, because your BVN is your financial ID card, anyone that has access to it could use it  to get all your financial information and use it for fraudulent purposes. 

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 you should never post your BVN on public forums, social media and you shouldn’t give it out to any person, app 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. DO NOT 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 – it could save you a lot of stress, and money. 

As always, when you win, we win. To the moon!