How to Check Your BVN in Nigeria: A Comprehensive Guide
The Bank Verification Number (BVN) is a unique 11-digit number assigned by Nigerian banks to each customer as a means of identification across the Nigerian banking system. Your BVN contains your biometric information such as fingerprints and facial features which are linked to all your bank accounts.
Having a BVN is mandatory for operating a bank account in Nigeria. It helps curb issues like identity theft and duplicate bank accounts used for fraudulent activities. The BVN system also makes it easier for banks to identify customers and have a unified view of each customer’s banking activities.
Checking your BVN is important to ensure you know this unique identifier and can provide it whenever your bank requests for it. There are several easy ways to check your BVN in Nigeria, which we will explore in detail in this comprehensive guide:
Ways to Check BVN on Your Phone
Checking your BVN via your mobile phone is perhaps the most popular method. Here are two ways to check BVN using your phone:
1. Using USSD Code
This is by far the easiest and most common way to check BVN. All you need to do is:
- Dial 5650# on your phone
- Select the phone number linked with your BVN
- An SMS message will be sent to you containing your 11-digit BVN number
This USSD code 5650# works on all phone networks in Nigeria including Glo, Airtel, 9mobile and MTN.
The biggest advantage of using USSD is that it is completely free of charge and can be done from any type of mobile phone. You don’t need to have internet access or download any apps.
However, take note that you can only check the BVN linked to the SIM card registered on that mobile network. If you have multiple SIMs for different banks, you’ll need to check the BVN on each SIM separately using this method.
The main downside of using USSD is that some mobile networks may charge a service fee of around N20 per request. But most banks will reimburse this charge, so you get your BVN details for free.
2. Via Banking App
Nowadays, many banks in Nigeria offer the option to check your BVN right within their mobile banking app.
To use this method:
- Download your bank’s official mobile app on your phone
- Log in with your account credentials
- Go to the BVN section or profile/account settings
- Follow the prompt to view your BVN
Checking BVN via your bank’s mobile app has many advantages:
- It’s free: Most banks don’t charge anything for this service.
- Secure: The process is fully encrypted and secure since you’re already logged into your bank’s official app.
- Linked to your account: The BVN seen here will be the one linked specifically to that bank account.
- Real-time: You’ll always get the updated BVN, unlike the USSD method which may show an old BVN if you’ve recently updated it.
The only disadvantage is you’ll need to have internet access on your phone to use this method.
Some of the major Nigerian banks that allow BVN checking within their mobile apps include Access Bank, UBA, FirstBank, Zenith Bank, GTBank and Sterling Bank. Refer to your bank’s app and see if the BVN checking option is available.
Checking BVN Number Online
If you prefer using your laptop or desktop, there are a couple ways to check BVN online:
1. Via NIBSS Website
NIBSS stands for the Nigeria InterBank Settlement System. It is the agency that oversees BVN operations across all banks in Nigeria.
To check your BVN on the NIBSS website:
- Go to the NIBSS BVN Validation portal: https://nibss-plc.com.ng/ussd-validation-services/
- Click on BVN Inquiry
- Enter your 11-digit phone number linked to your BVN
- Input your date of birth
- Solve the simple captcha challenge on the page
- Click Submit
You will instantly get an SMS from NIBSS on your phone with your verified 11-digit BVN.
The advantages of using the NIBSS website include:
- Official central platform for BVN verification
- Confirmation via SMS
- Ability to also verify other NIN information like driving license
The limitations are:
- A processing fee of around N20 applies per inquiry
- The website is not mobile responsive, better opened on a laptop/desktop
So use the NIBSS website if you need an instant, official confirmation of your BVN via SMS.
2. Through Your Bank’s Website
Many Nigerian banks also allow you to check your BVN through internet banking on their official website:
- Visit your bank’s website
- Log in to your online banking account
- Go to your account profile or account information section
- Look for your BVN number displayed there
This method has the same advantages as checking via the bank’s mobile app i.e. it’s free, secure and gives your account-specific BVN.
The only requirement is you must be registered for online/internet banking with that bank.
Visiting Your Bank Branch
When all else fails, you can always directly walk into any branch of your bank and request for your BVN. Here’s what to do:
- Go to your bank branch
- Request the customer service officer to provide your BVN
- Provide your account number or other KYC details for verification
- Your BVN will be checked in the system and printed out for you
Getting your BVN from your bank branch has some pros such as:
- 100% reliable and trustworthy
- Don’t need mobile phone or internet access
- Can get print-out as official record
The cons are:
- Involves physically visiting the branch
- May need to queue depending on crowds
- Limited to banking hours
So visiting the bank branch is recommended if you need an official printout of your BVN, don’t remember your BVN, or are facing issues with other checking methods.
Important Things to Remember
When checking your BVN through any method, keep these important tips in mind:
- Don’t share your BVN carelessly. Treat your BVN with the same confidentiality as your ATM PIN or online banking password.
- Watch out for BVN scams. Beware of any phone call, email or text message asking you to provide your BVN for verification. Only use the official channels mentioned in this guide.
- Verify linked accounts. Use options like bank app or branch visit to verify which accounts are linked to your BVN across all your banks.
- Update if changed. If you’ve recently updated your BVN due to name/phone number change or any other reason, check to ensure the update is reflected everywhere.
- Forgot your BVN? If you are unable to recall your BVN through any method, visit your bank branch for assistance.
- Link NIN to BVN. Make sure your National Identity Number (NIN) is linked to your BVN. This will be mandatory for bank transactions soon.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here are some common questions about checking BVN:
Q: Is there any mobile app or code to check BVN?
A: Yes, you can check your BVN via your bank’s mobile app or by dialing 5650# USSD code.
Q: Can I get someone’s BVN without their consent?
A: No, it is unethical and likely illegal to access someone else’s BVN without their explicit consent.
Q: I changed my phone number. How do I update my BVN?
A: Visit a branch of all your banks with your new phone number details to update the number linked to your BVN.
Q: What happens if I don’t have a BVN?
A: Having a BVN is mandatory for operating a bank account in Nigeria. If you don’t have one, contact your bank to register for BVN.
Q: Can I link my BVN to my NIN?
A: Yes, visit an NIMC center with your BVN details to link it to your National Identity Number (NIN).
Q: I found two different BVNs linked to my accounts. What should I do?
A: This indicates your bank accounts are linked to different BVNs incorrectly. Visit your bank to merge the two BVNs and rectify the issue.
Q: Is there any limit on how many times I can check my BVN?
A: No, you can check your BVN as many times as you want through the available options. However, some may charge a fee.
Q: I want to get a print-out of my BVN. How can I get it?
A: The easiest way to get a printed copy of your BVN is to visit your bank branch and request for one.
Knowing how to check your BVN is vital for smooth banking and to avoid issues that may arise from not having proper records. This guide has provided reliable methods to instantly retrieve your BVN at no cost using various channels like USSD, ATM, mobile apps, websites, etc. Keep your BVN safely and utilize it appropriately for seamless identification across banks.