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Again, banking services disrupted over BVN, NIN linkage



Again, banking services disrupted over BVN, NIN linkage

– IBTC Stanbic top in seamless linkage

In the last few days, branches of commercial banks have been crowded as bank customers stormed banking halls to meet the deadline for linking their Bank Verification Number (BVN) and National Identification Number (NIN) to their bank accounts.

Some customers, who spoke with our correspondent, said they successfully linked theirs through the online platforms of banks before and are being compelled to do it again, however, others have lamented over network failure while attempting the BVN, NIN linkage.

Following the directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to financial institutions including commercial, merchant, non-interest, payment service banks, and money mobile operators, banks have mandated all their customers to link their BVN, and NIN to their bank accounts. This is to comply with the circular issued by CBN on December 1st, 2023.

“It is mandatory for ALL Tier-1 bank accounts and wallets for individuals to have BVN and/or NIN. It remains mandatory for Tiers 2 & 3 accounts and wallets for Individual accounts to have BVN and NIN; Effective March 1, 2024, all funded accounts or wallets shall be placed on “Post No Debit or Credit” and no further transactions permitted,” the circular stated.

To comply with CBN’s directive, all banks sent an email to their customers informing them to link their NIN and BVN to their accounts on or before March 1st, 2024 through USSD, the website, or visiting the bank. The banks noted that failure to adhere to this instruction would result in an account restriction.

“Please be advised that if you do not link BVN and NIN to your account by March 1, 2024, your account will be restricted. This means you cannot withdraw or receive funds until the required update is completed,” a bank notified.

Our correspondent visited seven banks on CMD road and observed that most banks were a crowded, however, a few banks out of the seven banks visited on CMD road were scanty.

Based on our correspondent’s observation, more than 70 percent of the customers in the banking hall were in the Customer service unit, while less than 30 percent were performing transactions across the counter. Each customer at the counter spent an average of five minutes in the banking hall, while customers, who came to lodge complaints spent, at least, 15 minutes, depending on the gravity of the issue.

At GT Bank, the parking space in the bank was filled with cars. The banking hall was crowded, such that 95% of the customers were standing. Over 20 customers were transacting across the counter, while four tellers attended to them. Over 25 people were at the customer service unit waiting to resolve their account-related issues, while three customer service officers attended to them. Our correspondent gathered that most of the people in the customer service unit experienced difficulties with linking their NIN to their accounts, barely two days before the deadline.

Nancy Enahoro, one of the customers, who spoke with our correspondent, said she was in the bank to link her NIN to her account after countless unsuccessful attempts on her phone.

“I have been trying to link my NIN to my account on my phone but it’s been unsuccessful. I came to the bank today to link my NIN because the deadline is March 1st, 2024,” she said.

Another customer, who spoke with our correspondent, said he couldn’t link his BVN and NIN to his account because the information on his BVN didn’t tally with the information on his NIN.

A male customer, Eniola Olorunfemi said he proceeded to the bank after many failed attempts to link his NIN to his bank account due to a network glitch.

“I have been trying to generate my NIN through the GTB online portal since yesterday but to no avail due to a network issue. When I got to the bank, the customer service representative said I needed my NIN slip to verify my account. I spent close to two hours at the bank, over something I should be able to do on my phone without hassle,” he said

One of the respondents expressed her displeasure, as all attempts to link her NIN through GT bank’s USSD code failed woefully.


“I have been trying to link my NIN through the USSD code but it has failed countless times. They have been deducting ₦20 at each trial. This process should be seamless and not this rigorous,” she said.

Our correspondent inquired why customers experienced issues with linking their BVN and NIN to their accounts. A bank official, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said many people encountered issues because the information on their BVN didn’t correspond with the information on their NIN. Customers, who fell into this category had to visit the bank to resolve the issue.

The situation at Polaris Bank and Access Bank was different. Proceeding to Polaris Bank, our correspondent observed that there was no crowd in the bank. Only about 10 customers were in the banking hall. Each customer spent about five minutes in the banking hall.

At Access Bank, all customers were attended to on the second floor due to the ongoing renovation in the bank. In total, there were about 17 customers in the bank, six of them were in the customer service department while others were transacting over the counter. Each customer spent an average of 10 minutes in the banking hall.

According to an access bank customer, who spoke with our correspondent, despite spending over two hours in the banking hall, he was unable to link his NIN after filling out a form and generating VNIN.

The situation at UBA, Ikosi Road branch was similar to GT bank’s, however, it was less crowded. Over 15 people were performing cash transactions over the counter. About 13 people were waiting in the customer service department. The queue moved a bit slowly, and at a point, Customers started complaining.

Two customer service officers were attending to customers, at a point only one person was attending to customers, as the other person wasn’t on their seats for some minutes.

Customers, who wanted to link their NIN to their accounts couldn’t do so due to network failure, however, they were told to visit the bank the next day.

“I came here to link my NIN to my account but the person, who attended to me told me to come back because the network was poor. I have to come here again tomorrow,” a male customer stated.

Likewise, over 27 customers were in the banking hall when our correspondent visited Stanbic IBTC, Ketu branch. About 15 of them were there to perform financial transactions, while others were in the customer service department, mainly to lodge complaints over account-related issues including linking of NIN and BVN.

Some customers of Stanbic IBTC have commended the bank for the hassle-free BVN, and NIN linkage.

“Stanbic IBTC sent me a message telling me to link my NIN with my account and on the message there’s a link that accompanies it which I clicked and was done at my convenience,” a customer said.

“I linked my NIN to my account on Stanbic IBTC’s website in less than five minutes,” another customer said.

First bank customers, especially the ones in the diaspora have raised concerns over their inability to carry out the BVN, NIN linkage on digital platforms, as the only option is to visit the bank.

“Kindly provide a seamless process for customers’ BVN and NIN updates. It shouldn’t be rocket science to get customers to carry out such updates seamlessly. Customers don’t have to visit bank branches to do that,” a customer said.

“Why not make this BVN/NIN update seamless for your customers by creating a digital platform for it? The notice is too short and other banks have made it so easy that one does not have to queue up in the bank. This is 2024. Do the needful,” another customer stated.


Lawrence Nkem, a First bank customer, who spoke with our correspondent aired his grievances concerning his inability to link his NIN through the bank’s digital platforms.

“Why is First Bank adding to the hardship of their customers? It doesn’t make sense to visit the bank for NIN linkage, when other banks have created a way to link it on their apps or websites. Going to the bank to join a long queue is stressful and a waste of time. First bank should do better,” he said.

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