Nigerian NUBAN numbers

Understanding NUBAN Numbers

If you’re sending money to a bank account in Nigeria, you’ll need your recipient’s Nigerian Uniform Bank Account Number (NUBAN). Continue reading to discover what NUBANs are, what they look like and when you’ll need one. 

What is a NUBAN?

A NUBAN stands for Nigerian Uniform Bank Account Number and is the standardised system for numbering bank accounts in Nigeria. A NUBAN helps banks and money transfer providers deliver money to the correct bank account.  

Informally, a NUBAN is also known as:

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

If your recipient mentions one of the above, they’re probably talking about a NUBAN. Although NUBANs are different from IBAN numbers, SWIFT or BIC codes and Routing Transit Numbers (RTNs), they do perform similar functions. 

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Banking in Nigeria

Just over 15 years ago, there were nearly 100 different banking institutions in Nigeria. After a combination of takeovers, acquisitions and insolvencies, that number is closer to 50 today. 

The main banking institution is the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which sets monetary policy and maintains the supply of Nigerian naira in the economy. The CBN is the Nigerian version of the Bank of England in the UK and, as such, doesn’t offer individual bank accounts.

For personal and business accounts in Nigeria, there are popular brands such as Access Bank, Ecobank Nigeria and Diamond Bank. Also, there are several international banks, such as Citibank, with branches across Nigeria. 

Why do Nigerian banks use NUBANs? 

In the days before the NUBAN, Nigerian bank accounts were between 12 to 15 digits long depending on the banking institution. To complicate matters further, each bank would use different language to describe the same banking terms. 

To solve this issue, the CBN created the NUBAN. The NUBAN unified all bank account numbers in Nigeria and the language used by different banks. The NUBAN was introduced in 2011; however, the current format may be changing to a 16-digit format in 2021. 

The longer format will aim to prevent duplicate NUBANs. That’s because as the number of new bank accounts grows, the number of NUBAN combinations decreases. The new format will eliminate this problem while improving the speed and safety of bank transfers to Nigerian bank accounts. 

What is the NUBAN format?

A current NUBAN consists of 10 numerical digits written without any spaces or dashes. 

An example of a 10-digit NUBAN would be:

1234567890

All NUBANs come from a complex calculation performed by the CBN, which involves:

  • A three-digit bank or CBN code.
  • A NUBAN serial number, which is different from a NUBAN number.
  • A check digit.
NB: If you’re sending money to a Nigerian bank account, you won’t need to know how to calculate a NUBAN. You’ll only need the NUBAN itself. 

How to find a NUBAN number

Whether you’re sending money to a loved one or making a transfer to your Nigerian bank account, you’ll need a NUBAN. You’ll be able to find your own NUBAN number in your online banking account or a recent bank statement. If you’re sending money to someone else, you can ask your recipient for their NUBAN.

Once you have your loved one’s NUBAN, it’s a good idea to validate it before sending money to Nigeria

How to validate a NUBAN number

If you need to check if a NUBAN is valid, bank.codes have this useful NUBAN validator. Enter your contact’s NUBAN and get confirmation on its validity from Nigeria’s top banks, including First Bank of Nigeria, Suntrust and Ecomobile

While using NUBAN validators helps, it’s always a great idea to check the NUBAN with your recipient before sending money to a Nigerian bank account. An incorrect NUBAN could delay or send your payment to the wrong bank account. 

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