What You Need To Open A Bank Account In Nigeria

Changing banks and opening new accounts is not an easy task, so make sure you only need to do it once and for all. First of all, you have to get familiar with different types of accounts and choose the one that meet your needs or the one that will be convenient for you. 

I believe you have chosen and made up your mind on the right type of account that suits you, so it is time to complete an application. In some cases, this entire process can be done online. However, some banks will require that you print the application and signature card and mail it in. While others will require that you visit a branch in-person.

Get the following items handy for your application  because I believe that you want to get this done at once so you can move on to other important things:
  1. Bank Verification Number (BVN). The BVN is very important because it will help link the new account with existing bank accounts. But if you don't have a bank account before now, you will have to fill the form for BVN, and you will get it after 2 to 3 working days. Everyone has their own one unique BVN number.
  2. Date of birth (I wrote more on DOB below if you’re under the age of 18)
  3. Your physical address (you can also use a separate mailing address, but a physical/street address is required)
  4. Utility bill: You have to go to the bank with a utility bill which includes; PHCN bill, water board bill, DSTV, etc. which is not more 2 months old. The address on the utility bill must match with the physical address you have above.
  5. A means of identification: This must be a valid ID Card (a driver’s license, passport, or other government-issued ID)

ARE YOU UNDER 18?
If you are under the age of 18, you would need a person who is over age 18 to open the account with you. You will still be able to use a debit card and online banking, and you can eventually get your own account. But you must have at least one adult on an account to get you started. In some banks, it does not require that it must be a parent—any trusted adult will do.

YOU WANT TO OPEN A JOINT ACCOUNTS?
If you are opening any kind of joint account, you would provide the personal details for all of the account holders who will be involved and a signature from each of them. If possible, get everybody together in one place to complete the application.

INITIAL DEPOSIT
It is very important to fund your account. Ask your bank what the minimum is to open the account. In addition to the minimum to open, ask about ongoing minimum balance requirements, which can result in monthly charges.

To make your initial deposit, you can bring cash in-person, write a cheque to the account, fund it with a debit card, or link a different bank account for electronic transfers between banks.

BUSINESS ACCOUNTS
You would need additional documents if you want to open an account for a business, because of the entity’s ownership. For example, you may need documents related to the formation or establishment of your business (articles of incorporation, etc) and a corporate resolution authorising the opening of the new bank account. You have to note that banks often have different fee structures for banks, so you might need to look for an inexpensive business account.

UP AND RUNNING
Once your new bank account is open, make sure that things go as smoothly as possible for you by the following:
  1. Apply text to your phone or email alerts to let you know when your account balance is running low, when you make deposit or when large withdrawals hit your account. Certain amount will be withdrawn from your account for text alert charges but email alert is free in most banks
  2. Monitor your account regularly by reporting errors and fraud quickly when you detect any because it will help you take full advantage of consumer protection laws.
  3. Set up online bill pay so that you can pay bills on time (and efficiently) by using your phone at the comfort of your home or office without having to go to the bank and queue for several minutes. You can recharge your phone, transfer money to family and friends.
  4. Lastly, Set up direct deposit from your employer so you don’t need to wait for paycheques and get them to the bank.