Claim that bank verification number expires after 10 years resurfaces online

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A claim that the Bank Verification Number (BVN) issued to customers by banks in Nigeria expires after 10 years has resurfaced on social media.

The claim was contained in a video that was circulated in WhatsApp closed groups.

In the 1-minute, 57-second footage, an inscription with Your BVN Expires was shown at the beginning of the video alongside a man saying:

Today I am about sharing a secret in Nigerian Banking you do not know, and what is it? Drum rolls!!! Your BVN expires. Yes, are you aware that the BVN you have expires after 10 years? You can read it up on the CBN site, the BVN expires after 10 years and then you go back to re-enroll after 10 years…

He indicated in the footage that individuals should visit the website of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He added that although individuals’ BVN does not change after re-enrolling, it was necessary as people’s details such as addresses, facial features etc. would have changed, noting that some people might have died which serves as Know Your Customer (KYC).

The bank verification number (BVN) is a biometric identification implemented by the CBN since 2015 to curb and reduce illegal banking activities in the country.

Screenshot of the video, Insert; false verdict
Screenshot of the video retrieved from a WhatsApp group. Insert: FALSE verdict.

 

CLAIM

The Bank Verification Number (BVN) issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) expires after 10 years.

 

THE FINDINGS

Findings by the FactCheckHub show that the claim is FALSE.

A look at the green screen of the document posted at 00:18 seconds of the video showed that the document did not carry the logo or watermark of the apex bank. It only had ‘Bank Verification Number’ inscripted on it.

In May 2023, the apex bank issued a press release regarding the issue.

The statement signed by Isa Abdulmumin, the CBN spokesperson, read:

BVN Issued in Nigeria Has No Expiry Date – CBN
The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to reports suggesting
that the Bank Verification Number (BVN) issued by the Bank in collaboration with the Nigeria
Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) expires after a ten-year period.
Contrary to these claims, we wish to clarify that the BVN issued in Nigeria has no expiry date.
Once a customer’s biometrics have been captured and enrolled in the database of NIBSS,
the BVN remains for life. However, the Regulatory Framework for BVN issued by the CBN in
2021 stipulates that customers can only change their records due to certain conditions spelt
out in the document and after being cleared by relevant authorities.
Therefore, we urge bank customers, especially those whose biometrics have been captured
by the system, to continue using their unique identifiers as they last their entire lifetime.
Be guided accordingly.
Isa AbdulMumin PhD
Ag. Director, Corporate Communications

Further checks by the FactCheckHub show that this is not the first time the claim would be circulating online. Earlier this year, several credible media platforms including Channels TV and ThisDay had published news reports debunking the claim when it circulated then.

 

THE VERDICT

The claim that the  Bank Verification Number (BVN) issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) expires after 10 years is FALSE; the CBN had earlier debunked the claim, saying the BVN issued in Nigeria is valid for lifetime.

Fact-checker at The FactheckHub | [email protected] | + posts

Seasoned fact-checker and researcher Fatimah Quadri has written numerous fact-checks, explainers, and media literacy pieces for The FactCheckHub in an effort to combat information disorder. She can be reached at sunmibola_q on X or [email protected].

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