NUBAN: Meaning, Benefits, and History


In order to know your bank account functions and manage it properly, you should know about the NUBAN number.

NUBAN: Meaning, Benefits, and History

History of the NUBAN Account Number

Prior to 2011, Nigerian banks had no unified format of any sort for their account numbers. Banks made use of a varying number of digits. While some issued 12 digits account numbers, others issued as much as 15 digits.

The Central Bank of Nigeria issued a decree to force all banks to provide account numbers of not more than 10 digits. This is what is known as Nigeria Uniform Bank Account Number, bank accounts not more than 10 digits.

Regardless of whatever type of account you make use of: savings, current, domiciliary etc., your account number must not be more or less than 10 digits. Non-compliance to this decree is legally wrong.

What is NUBAN Number

NUBAN is an acronym that stands for Nigeria Uniform Bank Account Number. NUBAN is a 10- digit bank account numbering system. This means that the NUBAN number is also the same as the bank account number. It was adopted in 2011 and has become common today. Prior to this time, the account numbering structures were longer. NUBAN conforms to the requirements of the West Africa Monetary Institute. Every bank in Nigeria today is required to have its own unique NUBAN code for the account of its customers; Current accounts, deposit and saving accounts.

The NUBAN number has to be included in the customer’s database of the bank. This is because any transaction or interaction with a customer requires the NUBAN account number.

The NUBAN number is generated for an individual and active customer of every approved Nigerian bank including the Central bank of Nigeria. The NUBAN numbers were made active on the 24th of May 2011.

 Reason for the Adoption of NUBAN

One of the major reasons for the adoption of NUBAN was because it could be easily managed by both employees of the bank and the bank customers. The former traditional and longer account numbers were quite difficult to quote which made it a common problem.

The 10 digit NUBAN account number would make Nigeria fully compliant with the 10-digit Account Number structure required by the West Africa Monetary Institute aimed towards economic integration of ECOWAS countries (a similar scheme is also the practised in the United Kingdom)

Benefits of having a NUBAN Account Number

The NUBAN Account system has many advantages. First is its convenience. The 10 digit number is simple and can be easily managed.

The 10 digits also keep you from the risk of quoting account numbers wrongly- this risk is well associated with the former account numbers which were longer.

The current NUBAN account system makes it easy for banks to validate customer accounts. It also facilitates easier and faster handling of e-payments.

How to Obtain your NUBAN Account Number

In order to get your NUBAN account, all you will have to do is visit any of the banks in Nigeria. For example, if you want a NUBAN account number from First Bank, then you will have to visit any of the First Bank branches near you.

You will then be given a form to fill and then choose the account type. You will be required to present some documents, which include the Birth certificate, ID Card, state of origin. The documents required vary from bank to bank.

Some banks allow you to open a preliminary account by just dialling the unique USSD banking code associated with the particular bank. After this, you will get your unique 10- digit NUBAN account number.

How to obtain your own NUBAN Account Number on the phone when using GTBank

The process of obtaining your NUBAN number is quite simple. You do not need to go to the bank or an ATM terminal. All you need to do is send either an email or an SMS.

If using the SMS method, follow the following steps:

  1.   Select the ‘Create New Text Message’
  2.   Enter the number 08076665555 as the recipient of the message
  3.   ‘Create New Message’
  4.   Type ‘my account’

If you are sending an email, follow the same steps as written above.

Wait a few minutes to receive a message with your full name and account number. It is very important that you know your NUBAN number to make for easier transactions.

How to retrieve your NUBAN Account Number when forgotten

The different banks in Nigeria have different means for their customers to get back their forgotten or misplaced NUBAN number. While some only require that you dial a simple USSD code then provide the mobile phone number linked to your bank account.

If you do not know what the USSD code for checking your bank is, all you will need to  is carry out a Google search as these codes vary from bank to bank

You could also visit the closest branch of your bank which you have an account with and meet with the customer care representative that you have forgotten your account number.

You may also be required to provide the following information:

  •   Full name
  •   Phone number linked to your bank account
  •   Next of kin
  •   Date of Birth
  •   The branch of the bank which you registered your account
  •   Residential address

This information is used to confirm that you actually own an account with the bank in question.

Criticisms of the existing NUBAN Scheme

There have been cases of the same NUBANs existing in different banks. This has been occurring increasingly as more NUBAN’s are generated. This ultimately defeats the purpose of NUBAN as a unique bank account identifier for each bank customer in Nigeria. This way, with its faults, NUBAN’s uniqueness depends on the customer or user’s conscious usage of bank codes/bank names with the NUBAN.

It has been proposed that the Central bank of Nigeria introduce 3 extra digits taking the account number to 16 digits (Three preceding zeros will also be introduced by the CBN as a buffer for when more Banks, MFBs and OFIs are incorporated for business).

 It is believed that this implementation will further ease integrations between banks, OFIs, fintechs and the many MSMEs that will embrace open banking for inventive developments and help to deliver quality financial services to Nigerians.


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