What are NUBAN Numbers?

06 Oct 2022 - Category: Blog /
nuban numbers

If you’ve done any banking in Nigeria you may have come across a NUBAN number before. But what is a NUBAN number? Why is it used in Nigeria today? And how did the NUBAN numbering system develop?

If you bank in Nigeria or internationally and make money transfers overseas it helps to know a bit about NUBAN. Whether you are looking to send money to loved ones back home, hoping to open a bank account in Nigeria or just want to learn more about banking in Nigeria, you’ve come to the right place!

Below you’ll learn about:

What is a NUBAN number?

If you want to send money to a bank account in Nigeria you’ll need to know your recipient’s NUBAN. But what is a NUBAN?

NUBAN stands for ‘Nigerian Uniform Bank Account Number’. Similar to an IBAN number for banking internationally, NUBAN serves as a standardized system for organizing bank accounts. Each bank account has its own NUBAN. It is a common sense numbering system that provides a solid foundation for complex financial dealings and interactions.

The NUBAN is a 10-digit account number format that allows the presenting bank to perform checks and ensures that money is sent and received by the correct accounts. It is about accuracy, organization and financial efficiency.

A NUBAN enables banks and money transfer services to ensure they are sending money to the right bank account. A NUBAN is also sometimes referred to as:

  • A Nigerian IBAN number
  • A Nigerian bank account number
  • A Nigerian NUBAN code
  • A Nigerian SWIFT code
  • A Nigerian bank routing number

While NUBAN are different from the commonly used financial numbering systems like SWIFT codes, BIC codes, IBAN numbers and Routing Transit Numbers (RTNs), they all have a similar purpose and work towards ensuring financial clarity.

Why are NUBAN numbers used in Nigerian banks?

Nigeria is a huge country with a growing economy that is becoming increasingly more complex and varied. For many years bank accounts in Nigeria used a variety of numbering systems that required bank accounts to have between 12 to 15 digits. To add to the complexity, banks in Nigeria would use different languages to describe the same sorts of banking terms and systems.

To simplify things, in 2011 the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced the NUBAN. The NUBAN, functioning similarly to the IBAN which was created in 1997, allowed all Nigerian banks to unify their bank account numbers. The introduction of NUBAN also ensured that the same language was used by banks across Nigeria, further simplifying matters.

How to check my NUBAN account number

It is very easy to check your NUBAN account number. You can find your own NUBAN on any recent bank statement if you have a Nigerian bank account or within your online banking account. Usually, the NUBAN is easily accessible because it is vital that you are able to provide it to someone when they ask for your bank account information.

Additionally, if you want to check the validity of yours or anyone else's NUBAN number you can use an online NUBAN look-up tool. It is important to know that the NUBAN is correct otherwise you could have delays or mistakes when sending or receiving funds.

Banking in Nigeria

For many years the Nigerian banking industry was unnecessarily complex and confusing. 15 years ago there were around 100 different banking institutions, many of which had different modes of operation, languages and ways of formatting, sending and receiving money. After a number of takeovers and insolvencies there are now only around 50 banks in Nigeria.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) remains the main banking institution in Nigeria and is in charge of the monetary policy of the country. The CBN also filters and maintains the supply of Nigerian naira within the economy.

Like the Bank of England, the Central Bank of Nigeria does not offer individual bank accounts. Therefore if you want a personal or business bank account you’ll need to go to one of the many other banks in Nigeria such as Polaris Bank, Union Bank, Zenith, Fidelity, United Bank of Africa, Access, FirstBank and GTBank.

With all of these banks you will be given a NUBAN that will serve as a identifier enabling you to send and receive money and allows banks to easily process your funds.

To learn more about modern banking in Nigeria check out this report by McKinsey & Company, “Nigeria’s banking sector: Thriving in the face of crisis”.

The NUBAN format

When NUBAN was first introduced, the Central Bank of Nigeria released information about NUBAN format standards as well as their reasoning for the use of NUBAN.

Regarding financial best practices, CBN stated that the, “The adoption of a 10-digit NUBAN will make Nigeria fully comply with the 10-digit Account Number structure required by the West Africa Monetary Institute towards the economic integration of ECOWAS countries.”

The NUBAN 10-digit format has the following structure:

“999999999 - Account Serial Number

9 - A Check Digit constructed to support a modulus check, which enables the presenting bank to perform checks. The Check Digit comes from an algorithm that functions on a combination of the 3-digit CBN-assigned Bank Code and the 9-digit Account Serial Number.”

How can I send money internationally?

Transferring money around the world is easy with Small World’s international money transfer service. If you want to send money to family and friends in Nigeria, Small World is here to help.

You can send money to Nigeria with Small World via a number of services including, Bank deposit and Anywhere pickup. These methods are quick, simple and secure.

Small World is also partnered with a number of local banks in Nigeria such as Polaris Bank, Union Bank, Zenith, Fidelity, United Bank of Africa and many more. Our relationship with these local partners ensure that you can easily send, receive and deal with money in Nigeria.

Small World has facilitated millions of money transfers all around the world. So if you need to support your loved ones wherever they are you can rely on Small World.

Your first transfer online is always free of fees!

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