CBN stops account openings for Kuda, Moniepoint, OPay

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April 29, 2024
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2 min read
  • The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reportedly directed Moniepoint, OPay, Kuda Bank, and Palmpay to restrict new account openings.
  • This follows the recent freezing of 1,146 bank accounts linked to unauthorised forex transactions to prevent further illegal activity.
  • When this reporter attempted to open an account with some of the fintechs as of the time of writing, the display message read, in part, "Sign up is currently unavailable. Please check back later.” 

Meanwhile, the platform confirms that outgoing and incoming transactions are unaffected.

The government has recently been unwavering in its fight against fraud. On April 26, 2024, a Nigerian Federal High Court granted an interim order requested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to freeze at least 1,146 bank accounts belonging to individuals and businesses suspected of engaging in illegal foreign exchange transactions.

The EFCC's investigation includes money laundering and terrorism financing.

Besides, in October 2023, Fidelity Bank, a Nigerian commercial bank, restricted transactions to fintechs such as Moniepoint, Kuda, OPay, and PalmPay due to concerns about increased fraud. 

Before generating a wallet, OPay and PalmPay enforced the use of National Identity Numbers (NIN) and Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) in December 2023. This came after Techpoint Africa reported that OPay and PalmPay accounts were fraudulently opened using the identities of unsuspecting individuals. 

Meanwhile, the Central Bank has issued a directive freezing bank accounts not linked to a BVN or NIN by April 2024 to promote financial system stability. 

On April 26, 2024, the CBN granted Unified Payments Services Limited, a fintech service provider, the country's second Payment Terminal Service Aggregator (PTSA) licence to combat financial crime and market irregularities. 

Amid this, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Financial Stability June 2022 report, published in December 2022, revealed that 6,047 Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) were added to the CBN's watch list for fraudulent transactions.

The total number of BVNs under investigation for fraud rose 13.9% from 5,347 in December 2021, with 11,871 identified as deceased in 2022.

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