First, What is the vNIN?
The virtual NIN is a tokenized version of the actual NIN which cannot be retained or used by a verifying party in a way that puts the individual’s data privacy at risk. It is an added layer of security that protects people's data privacy through the use of an encrypted, coded version of the NIN which is only used to verify your identity and does not stay in the hand of the verifying party for more than 72 hours.
With the virtual NIN, your identity is only verified and your personal data is not shared with any third party in order to prevent incidences of illegal retrieval, usage, transfer, and storage of NIN.
How does the vNIN Work?
The Virtual NIN is a representation of your actual NIN, to be used in its place for the purpose of Identity verification only.
For every verification you want to carry out with your NIN, you will require a virtual NIN token consisting of 16-digit alphanumeric characters. The Virtual NIN itself (not the NIN record it represents) is a one-time token and may only be verified once by the Enterprise it is issued to, with an expiry period of 72 hours from the time of issuance by you.
How do you get your virtual NIN?
Your Virtual NIN is gotten through the use of an Enterprise Agent ID which is given to you by the merchant who is trying to verify your identity from the NIMC server without having access to your complete data. The virtual NIN can be generated through USSD and the NIMC mobile app.
Getting your Virtual NIN through USSD
• To generate a Virtual NIN via USSD, dial 346*3*Your NIN*AgentCode#
• You will get a successful notification and an SMS message will be sent back to you containing the Virtual NIN generated for you.
• These 16-digit alphanumeric characters can be shared with your vendor for verification.
Getting your NIN through the NIMC Personal ID App
If you don't have the app, you can download it via the App Store or Google Play Store on your phone. Once you have the app and have linked your NIN, you can follow these steps:
• Select the “GET VIRTUAL NIN” button on the “Home” screen.
• Read through the “Enhanced Data Privacy” text and get started.
• Tap on any available options to scan the Enterprise’s QR code or type in the Enterprise’s ID.
• A Virtual NIN is generated for you to use specifically with that verifying Enterprise alone.
• Present the Virtual NIN to the Enterprise for verification.
• Receive a notification once verification is completed by the Enterprise.
How convenient is the vNIN verification?
Virtual NIN provides a more secure and efficient means of identity verification. With the rise in identity theft and fraud, virtual NIN offers a more secure means of identity verification as it is harder to duplicate or forge. Virtual NIN also eliminates the need for physical identity documents, which can be lost or stolen.
Benefits of vNIN
• Data privacy protection – access to an individual’s NIN by others is further restricted.
• The generated token is encrypted and totally opaque with no correlation to the NIN.
• The NIN holder is the only exclusive issuer.
• Generated tokens expire after a set period of time.
• Virtual NIN tokens generated are merchant-specific, a token generated for company A cannot be used or verified by company B.
What is the difference between the NIN and VNIN ?
• Your NIN is your unique identification number given to you by the NIMC. Your vNIN is a token generated by you for your NIN verification processes only.
Do I need an NIN to get a virtual NIN?
• Yes, you need your National Identity Number (NIN) to generate your virtual NIN.
Is virtual NIN used for only online identification?
• Yes, it is for online identification. For verifications that strictly require physical documents, you may not need to generate a vNIN.
Why do you need a virtual NIN when you have an NIN slip?
• The NIN holds all your credentials which are private to you. Your vNIN collects specific data needed for verification by a third-party vendor and protects your data privacy.
Is there a fee associated with the generation of a virtual NIN?
• A service fee of N20 (twenty naira) will likely be charged by your network provider for using the USSD channel. There are no charges associated with virtual NIN generation on the NIMC mobile app.
Do I need to walk into an office again to create my virtual NIN?
• No, you do not. Your virtual NIN can only be generated and issued by you through your mobile phone via USSD or the NIMC Mobile Web Service (MWS) app.
Can Virtual NIN replace the NIN original slip?
• The virtual NIN only replaces the NIN slip at the point of verification to keep your data safe and secure. But does not replace your NIN in its entirety. It is a one-off token generated for verification purposes only by verified third parties.