In a significant move to enhance financial security and comply with directives from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), OPay, a leading fintech company, has announced that all user accounts not linked with their National Identification Number (NIN) will face suspension starting March 1, 2024. The company’s Director of Partnerships, Ikponmwosa Odiase, revealed this during an interactive session with the media in Lagos on Wednesday.
The decision comes as part of OPay’s commitment to strengthening Know-Your-Customer (KYC) practices in the financial sector, aligning with CBN guidelines to curb fraudulent activities. Tier 1 account holders have already been barred from conducting transactions on OPay’s mobile app until they update their accounts with their NIN.
Odiase emphasized the importance of the NIN, stating that it is now a mandatory requirement for all new account openings. He explained, “Everyone who has a tier one account must now link with NIN before their transaction can continue. You cannot move forward without doing it.” He added that the deadline for compliance is March 1, 2024, and any account not linked will be temporarily blocked.
To bolster the new KYC measures, OPay is implementing a system where new customers must provide their NIN during the account opening process. This data will be seamlessly integrated into their wallets, streamlining the onboarding process and reducing the need for manual data entry.
In addressing concerns about fraudulent accounts, Odiase assured users that any account involved in fraudulent activities will be promptly removed from the platform. He highlighted the collaboration between fintechs, banks, the CBN, and other stakeholders to tackle the prevailing issue of fraud in the financial industry.
While the move is seen as a positive step towards improving security, Odiase acknowledged that it might impact the ongoing efforts to deepen financial inclusion in the country. Many users who currently have wallets may lose access if they fail to link their accounts with NIN. Odiase stated, “This might drag us back a little in financial inclusion because, as a mobile money operation, part of our mandate is to drive financial inclusion.”
The CBN, in a circular issued last December, had announced that all bank accounts without Bank Verification Number (BVN) and NIN would be placed on “Post no Debit” effective April 2024. Existing unfunded individual Tier 1 accounts without BVN or NIN would face immediate restrictions, according to the circular.
In conclusion, OPay’s decision to block accounts without NIN integration aligns with broader regulatory efforts to strengthen the security of financial transactions in Nigeria. Users are urged to comply with the new requirements to avoid disruptions to their financial activities on the platform.
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