The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday inaugurated Bank Verification Number (BVN) to revolutionise banking and payment systems in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the BVN is a biometric authentication of bank customers using Point of Sale (PoS) and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).
The biometric authentication is meant to address the safety of customers’ funds and avoid losses through compromise of Personal Identification Numbers (PIN).
The CBN Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said at the launch in Lagos that banks would have captured biometric details of all customers nationwide within the next 18 months.
He said that by next week, the CBN would start to issue circulars to banks to inform their customers to come in and register for the biometric authentication.
Sanusi said that the platform already rolled out nationwide attracted no charges, adding that it would allow banks to enroll and verify the identity of each customer from any point of transaction device.
Mr Ade Shonubi, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), whose company provides the connectivity service, lauded the initiative.
Shonubi said that the initiative represented a major landmark in the Bankers Committee’s efforts at promoting financial inclusion drive and prevent money laundering in the system.
He said that the bankers’ committee’s initiative would also allow banks to give their customers unique identities.
Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Managing Director of Zenith Bank and Chairman, Sub-Committee on Biometric in bankers’ committee, said he was happy that the group met the deadline.
Emefiele also congratulated the CBN on the launch of the project, adding that it would open up more consumers banking services.
He said that the initiative supported by all the banks in the country would also boost consumer lending.
The Zenith Bank boss added that the initiative would boost the economy irrespective of banks’ customers’ status and class.
“The issue of forgetting one’s personal identity number when it comes to transaction does not arise because the biometric cards only use bio-data information.’’
Mr Gunther Mull, the Managing Director of Dermalog BMS, a German company which handled the initiative, said this was the first time any country would embark on the platform for national use.
Mull said that the benefit of embracing the platform as a country was that it would make life easier for banks and their customers.
He congratulated the CBN on the success of its effort. (NAN)