Fintech Giant, OPay set to block all accounts Not linked to NIN by march 1, 2024

OPay, Nigeria’s fintech giant, has issued a stern warning that it will block all accounts not linked with the National Identification Number (NIN) by March 1, 2024.

The announcement was made by Ikponmwosa Odiase, OPay’s Director of Partnerships, during a media interactive session held in Lagos on Wednesday.

In compliance with directives from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to enhance Know-Your-Customer (KYC) practices in the financial system, OPay has already taken measures. Tier 1 account holders have been restricted from conducting transactions on the mobile app until they update their accounts with their NIN.

Fintech Giant, OPay set to block all accounts Not linked to NIN by march 1, 2024
Fintech Giant, OPay set to block all accounts Not linked to NIN by march 1, 2024 6

Odiase emphasized the mandatory requirement for NIN in account opening, stating, “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 outlined that new customers would be required to start with NIN, and the implementation of this policy is in progress. A strict deadline of March 1st has been set, beyond which non-compliant accounts will be locked.

Addressing concerns about fraudulent accounts, Odiase assured, “Any fraudulent account will be yanked off our platform. There must be a correlation between your face and the picture in your NIN.”

The move towards a more robust KYC system is a collaborative effort involving fintechs, banks, CBN, and other stakeholders to combat the prevalent issue of fraud in the financial industry. Odiase acknowledged the rising challenge of fraud and emphasized the industry’s commitment to addressing it collectively.

However, he acknowledged that this initiative might impact the ongoing drive to deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria. Odiase stated, “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.” He noted the potential setback, especially for individuals in rural areas who may lose access to their wallets if unable to link them with NIN.

The CBN, in a circular issued in December, had earlier announced stringent measures, stating that all bank accounts without Bank Verification Number (BVN) and National Identification Number (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 on transactions.

The circular specified that BVN or NIN attached to accounts must be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024. The financial industry is bracing for these changes, balancing the need for enhanced security with the imperative to maintain and expand financial inclusion.

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