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How to Check Your Bank Verification Number (BVN) Without Airtime and Get Your BVN Number Without Visiting the Bank 

When I first moved back to Nigeria after living abroad for several years, one of the first things I needed to do was set up a bank account. However, the banking process here is quite different than what I was used to. One thing that really confused me was this thing called a “Bank Verification Number” or BVN. What even was a BVN? And why did I need one? 

In this article, I’ll explain what a BVN is, common reasons why you might need to check your BVN without airtime or get your BVN number without visiting the bank, and step-by-step guides on how to do both easily from your mobile phone. By the end, you’ll understand BVNs fully and know several convenient methods to access your number anytime, anywhere.

What is a BVN?

A Bank Verification Number (BVN) is a unique number issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria to bank customers to enable them to perform transactions electronically and even serve as identification. The BVN is an eleven-digit number linked to customer’s fingerprints, facial photograph and other biometric and biodata provided during enrolment. 

It’s required for doing things like opening a new bank account, applying for loans, and many other financial transactions now in Nigeria. The goal of the BVN system is to stem fraud in the banking sector, curb identity theft, and eliminate duplicates/multiple bank accounts.

Common Scenarios When You May Need to Check Your BVN

Now that you understand the basics of what a BVN is, here are some common scenarios where you may find yourself needing to check your BVN number without airtime or visiting the bank:

Applying for a Loan

Many banks and financial institutions now require your BVN to process loan applications of any type, from personal loans to mortgage loans. Having easy access to verify your BVN is important for the application process.

As mentioned, a BVN is mandatory for opening a new bank account. If you’ve lost your card or can’t locate your BVN number, you’ll need to check it in order to complete the account setup.

Resolving Issues with an Existing Account

Problems sometimes occur with bank accounts like failed transactions or holds on accounts. In these cases, the bank will likely need to verify your identity by requesting your BVN number. 

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If you’ve forgotten your online banking username or password, the bank may ask for your BVN to securely verify who you are before assisting with a reset.

Banks monitor accounts for suspicious activity and may need to confirm sensitive details like your BVN if any fraud is suspected in order to take appropriate action.

How to Check Your BVN Without Airtime Using USSD Codes

One of the easiest methods to check your Bank Verification Number without airtime is by using USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) codes directly from your mobile phone. USSD is a protocol that allows text-based interactions with telecommunication services over GSM. Here are the steps

1. Dial the USSD code *997*11# on your phone. This will send a request to the BVN validation service.

2. You will be prompted to enter your date of birth in DDMMYYYY format. Key this in. 

3. Next enter your phone number with country code. For Nigeria, enter 234 and your 10-digit mobile number.

4. After entering your details, your BVN should be displayed on the screen. Make a note of this 11-digit number.

5. To exit the service, press the end call button. 

That’s it you’ve checked your BVN without using any airtime balance! The entire process takes under a minute. This USSD method works from any mobile network and does not require an internet connection.

How to Check Your BVN Without Airtime Using Bank Mobile Apps

All major Nigerian banks now have mobile apps that allow easy access to check your BVN without airtime as well. Here are instructions for two popular banking apps:

Access Bank Mobile App

1. Download the Access Bank app from the Play Store or App Store if you don’t already have it. 

2. Open the app and enter your login credentials like username and token. 

3. Select “Profile” from the sidebar menu. 

4. Your full profile with name and BVN number will be displayed on this page for verification.

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GTBank Mobile App

1. Get the GTBank app and log into your account.

2. Tap the three horizontal lines icon in the top-left. 

3. Select “Profile” from the options. 

4. Scroll down and your 11-digit BVN will be listed under “Personal Information”.

Both of these bank apps are free to download and allow checking your BVN instantly without any airtime cost. Ensure your profile details are updated for a successful lookup.

How to Get Your BVN Number Without Visiting the Bank

If for some reason you do not have your BVN saved or through any bank accounts yet, there are still options available to obtain your number without physically going to a branch.

Use Registered Phone Number for BVN Retrieval

1. Dial the USSD code *565*25# from your phone.

2. Enter your 11-digit bank account number or your NIN number. 

3. Your registered mobile number will be requested. Key in the number.

4. If your details match, your BVN will be displayed. Otherwise you’ll get an error.

Send an Email to BVN@cbn.gov.ng 

1. Write an email to the above address providing your full name and date of birth. 

2. Also include your NIN number if available or a scanned ID card.

3. The CBN will respond via email with your 11-digit BVN. 

4. This process may take 2-4 weeks depending on volume of requests.


In conclusion, the Bank Verification Number system was implemented in Nigeria to modernize the banking industry and protect citizens from financial fraud and identity theft when conducting electronic transactions. Though the concept of a BVN was initially unfamiliar, with this guide you now have a solid understanding of what a BVN is, common reasons you may need to verify your number, and convenient airtime-free methods to check or retrieve your BVN whenever required. Keeping close track of your BVN and avoiding common mistakes will help keep your banking activities smooth. I hope these tips are useful – please feel free to share any other BVN-related questions!

FAQs About BVNs in Nigeria

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