July 14, 2024

Fintech company, OPay, has said all accounts not linked with the National Identification Number (NIN) of the owners would be blocked by March 1, 2024.

OPay’s Director of Partnerships, Ikponmwosa Odiase, disclosed this during an interactive session with the media in Lagos on Wednesday.

Already, the fintech said all its tier 1 account owners have been barred from performing transactions on its mobile app until they update it with their NIN.

These moves are in line with the directives from the Central Bank of Nigeria to strengthen Know-Your-Customer (KYC) practices in the financial system.

Speaking during the meeting, Odiase said the fintech, in addition to the ongoing updates by existing customers, has now made NIN a mandatory requirement for all accounts opening.

“Everyone who has a tier one account must now link with NIN before their transaction can continue. You cannot move forward without doing it.

The second thing is for new customers, you are going to start with NIN, we are implementing that now. We are pulling information from your NIN into your wallet. We save you the trouble of typing your name. We have a timeline of March 1st, wherein anybody not compliant will be locked out,”

“Any fraudulent account will be yanked off our platform. There must be a correlation between your face and the picture in your NIN,” he said.

Odiase added that the new KYC system will help the country address the issue of fraud, which has been a major challenge in the financial industry. According to him, the fintechs, banks CBN, and other stakeholders are now collaborating to achieve this.

“We all know that fraud has been quite prevalent. The fraudsters are not sleeping and the industry is now rising to the challenge,” he said.

The OPay Director, however, observed that the exercise may affect the ongoing drive to deepen financial inclusion in the country as many people who currently have wallets would lose them if they are unable to link it with NIN.

“This might drag us back a little in financial inclusion because as a mobile money operation, part of our mandates is to drive financial inclusion. That is why ab initio, there was no need for NIN or BVN for the tier one account, believing that those in the rural areas would not have access to some of those things. But we believe things have changed, so many people have NIN and BVN now. Having BVN means you are financially included, but with NIN, you might not be financially included,” he said.

 The CBN in a circular issued in December last year announced that all bank accounts without Bank Verification Number (BVN) and National Identification Number (NIN) will be placed on “Post no Debit” effective April 2024.

In addition to that, the Apex bank also specified that existing unfunded individual Tier 1 accounts without BVN or NIN would be placed on “Post No Debit or Credit” immediately.

“For all existing Tier 1 accounts/wallets without BVN or NIN: Effective immediately, any unfunded account/wallet shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ until the new process is satisfied.

Effective March 1, 2024, all funded accounts or wallets shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ and no further transactions permitted.

The BVN or NIN attached to and/or associated with all accounts/wallets must be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024”, the circular read.


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