CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA
GUIDELINES ON ELECTRONIC BANKING IN
CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA
GUIDELINES ON ELECTRONIC BANKING IN NIGERIA
The CBN recognizes that electronic banking and payments services are still at the early
stages of development in Nigeria. Arising from the three major roles of the CBN in the areas
of monetary policy, financial system stability and payments system oversight, the CBN
Technical Committee on E-Banking has produced a report, which anticipates the likely
impact of the movement towards electronic banking and payments on the achievement of
CBN’s core objectives. Following from the findings and recommendations of the Committee,
four categories of guidelines have been developed as follows:
• Information and Communications Technology (ICT) standards, to address issues
relating to technology solutions deployed, and ensure that they meet the needs of
consumers, the economy and international best practice in the areas of
communication, hardware, software and security.
• Monetary Policy, to address issues relating to how increased usage of Internet
banking and electronic payments delivery channels would affect the achievement of
CBN’s monetary policy objectives.
• Legal guidelines to address issues on banking regulations and consumer rights
• Regulatory and Supervisory, to address issues that, though peculiar to payments
system in general, may be amplified by the use of electronic media.
The Guidelines are expected to inform the future conduct of financial institutions in e-
banking and electronic payments delivery. A detailed report of the Technical Committee on
e-Banking, which resulted in these Guidelines, is available separately.
1.0 Technology and Security Standards
CBN will monitor the technology acquisitions of banks, and all investments in
technology, which exceed 10% of free funds, wil henceforth be subject to approval.
Where banks use third parties or outsource technology, banks are required to comply
with the CBN guidelines.
1.1. Standards for Computer Networks & Internet
a. Networks used for transmission of financial data must be demonstrated to meet the
requirements specified for data confidentiality and integrity.
b. Banks are required to deploy a proxy type firewall to prevent a direct connection
between the banks back end systems and the Internet.
c. Banks are required to ensure that the implementation of the firewal s addresses the
security concerns for which they are deployed.
d. For dial up services, banks must ensure that the modems do not circumvent the
firewal s to prevent direct connection to the bank’s back end system.
e. External devices such as Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Personal Computers,
(PC’s) at remote branches, kiosks, etc. permanently connected to the bank’s network
and passing through the firewall must at the minimum address issues relating to
non-repudiation, data integrity and confidentiality. Banks may consider
authentication via Media Access Control (MAC) address in addition to other methods.
f. Banks are required to implement proper physical access controls over all network
infrastructures both internal and external.
1.2. Standards on Protocols
Banks must take additional steps to ensure that whilst the web ensures global access
to data enabling real time connectivity to the bank’s back-end systems, adequate
measures must be in place to identify and authenticate authorized users while
limiting access to data as defined by the Access Control List.
Banks are required to ensure that unnecessary services and ports are disabled.
1.3. Standards on Application and System Software
a. Electronic banking applications must support centralized (bank-wide) operations or
branch level automation. It may have a distributed, client server or three tier
architecture based on a file system or a Database Management System (DBMS)
package. Moreover, the product may run on computer systems of various types
ranging from PCs, open systems, to proprietary main frames.
b. Banks must be mindful of the limitations of communications for server/client-based
architecture in an environment where multiple servers may be more appropriate.
c. Banks must ensure that their banking applications interface with a number of
external sources. Banks must ensure that applications deployed can support these
external sources (interface specification or other CBN provided interfaces) or provide
the option to incorporate these interfaces at a later date.
d. A schedule of minimum data interchange specifications will be provided by the CBN.
e. Banks must ensure continued support for their banking application in the event the
supplier goes out of business or is unable to provide service. Banks should ensure
that at a minimum, the purchase agreement makes provision for this possibility.
f. The bank’s information system (IS) infrastructure must be properly physically
secured. Banks are required to develop policies setting out minimum standards of
g. Banks are required to identify an ICT compliance officer whose responsibilities should
include compliance with standards contained in these guidelines as well as the bank’s
policies on ICT.
h. Banks should segregate the responsibilities of the Information Technology (IT)
security officer / group which deals with information systems security from the IT
division, which implements the computer systems
Standards on Delivery Channels
1.4.1 Mobile Telephony: Mobile phones are increasingly being used for financial services
in Nigeria. Banks are enabling the customers to conduct some banking services such
as account inquiry and funds transfer. Therefore the following guidelines apply:
Networks used for transmission of financial data must be demonstrated to
meet the requirements specified for data confidentiality, integrity and non-
An audit trail of individual transactions must be kept.
1.4.2 Automated Teller Machines (ATM): In addition to guidelines on e-banking in
general, the fol owing specific guidelines apply to ATMs:
Networks used for transmission of ATM transactions must be demonstrated to
meet the guidelines specified for data confidentiality and integrity.
In view of the demonstrated weaknesses in the magnetic stripe technology,
banks should adopt the chip (smart card) technology as the standard, within
5 years. For banks that have not deployed ATMs, the expectation is that chip
based ATMs would be deployed. However, in view of the fact that most
countries are still in the magnetic stripe conversion process, banks may
deploy hybrid (both chip and magnetic stripe) card readers to enable the
international cards that are still primarily magnetic stripe to be used on the
Banks will be considered liable for fraud arising from card skimming and
counterfeiting except where it is proven that the merchant is negligent.
However, the cardholder will be liable for frauds arising from PIN misuse.
Banks are encouraged to join shared ATM networks.
Banks are required to display clearly on the ATM machines, the Acceptance
Mark of the cards usable on the machine.
All ATMs not located within bank premises must be located in a manner to
assure the safety of the customer using the ATM. Appropriate lighting must
be available at all times and a mirror may be placed around the ATM to
enable the individual using the ATM to determine the locations of persons in
their immediate vicinity.
ATMs must be situated in such a manner that passers by cannot see the key
entry of the individual at the ATM directly or using the security devices.
ATMs may not be placed outside buildings unless such ATM is bolted to the
floor and surrounded by structures to prevent removal.
Additional precaution must be taken to ensure that any network connectivity
from the ATM to the bank or switch are protected to prevent the connection
of other devices to the network point.
Non-bank institutions may own ATMs, however such institutions must enter
into an agreement with a bank for the processing of al the transactions at
the ATM. If an ATM is owned by a non-bank institution, processing banks
must ensure that the card readers, as well as, other devices that
capture/store information on the ATM do not expose information such as the
PIN number or other information that is classified as confidential. The funding
(cash in the ATM) and operation of the ATM should be the sole responsibility
of the bank.
Where the owner of the ATM is a financial institution, such owner of the ATM
must also ensure that the card reader as well as other devices that capture
information on the ATM does not expose/store information such as the PIN
number or other information that is classified as confidential to the owner of
ATMs at bank branches should be situated in such a manner as to permit
access at reasonable times. Access to these ATMs should be control ed and
secured so that customers can safely use them within the hours of
operations. Deployers are to take adequate security steps according to each
situation subject to adequate observance of standard security policies.
Banks are encouraged to install cameras at ATM locations. However, such
cameras should not be able to record the keystrokes of such customers.
At the minimum, a telephone line should be dedicated for fault reporting, and
such a number shall be made known to users to report any incident at the
ATM. Such facility must be manned at all times the ATM is operational.
1.4.3 Internet Banking
Banks should put in place procedures for maintaining the bank’s Web site which
should ensure the following:-
a. Only authorized staff should be allowed to update or change information on the
b. Updates of critical information should be subject to dual verification (e.g. interest
c. Web site information and links to other Web sites should be verified for accuracy
d. Management should implement procedures to verify the accuracy and content of
any financial planning software, calculators, and other interactive programs
available to customers on an Internet Web site or other electronic banking
e. Links to external Web sites should include a disclaimer that the customer is
leaving the bank’s site and provide appropriate disclosures, such as noting the
extent, if any, of the bank’s liability for transactions or information provided at
f. Banks must ensure that the Internet Service Provider (ISP) has implemented a
firewall to protect the bank’s Web site where outsourced.
g. Banks should ensure that installed firewalls are properly configured and institute
procedures for continued monitoring and maintenance arrangements are in
h. Banks should ensure that summary-level reports showing web-site usage,
transaction volume, system problem logs, and transaction exception reports are
made available to the bank by the Web administrator.
1.4.4 Point of Sale Devices
a. Deployers of point of sale devices at merchant locations including where such
companies are agents of financial institutions must familiarize the merchant
location with the safe operation of the Point of sale device.
b. Private companies may deploy Point of Sale terminals, however such companies
are required to sign agreements with banks that they are responsible to the
merchant for transactions done on the terminals.
c. Acquiring banks must ensure that the Point of sale device as well as other
devices that capture information do not expose/store information such as the PIN
number or other information classified as confidential. It must also ensure that a
customer’s PIN number cannot be printed at the point of sale for any reason
d. Operators of point of sale devices are encouraged to work towards
interoperability of cards from other schemes.
1.4.5 International Card Schemes: Banks may, subject to the approval of CBN, issue
international cards (such as Visa, MasterCard etc.) to their customers. Such cards
can be used wherever accepted, and payment on the cards can only be done
through an ordinary domiciliary account of the cardholder, or any other account that
may be permitted by the CBN. Banks may subject to the prior approval of the CBN
acquire international cards for which the merchant receives value in Naira at the
applicable rate at the CBN for the currency on the date of settlement. For domestic
credit cards, transaction fees should be denominated in Naira.
1.4.6 Electronic Bill Presentment: Settlement should be done through the banking
system. Third party (non bank) providers must first enter into agency agreement
with financial institutions that will act as the settlement organization.
1.4.7 Switches: Since switches connect consumers to their bank accounts to authorize
transactions, only banks or a consortium of banks or agents for a bank or banking
consortium or any other company approved by the CBN can act as a switching
company. Switching companies will be licensed as EFT Messaging Companies. This
provision is to minimize fraud and mitigate risk to the banking system. Third party
providers are to submit themselves to the scrutiny of the Central Bank only after
having signed a switching agreement with a bank or consortium of banks. The
switching companies must meet the standards defined in 3rd party service provider
agreement. Third parties or service providers must meet the guidelines as specified
by the CBN.
a. EFT companies and banks whose transactions are switched must maintain
databases that are able to handle information relating to cardholders, merchants
and bank transactions for no less than 180 days. In addition, they are required to
preserve records of transactions for a minimum of five (5) years for audit
b. Switch operators must submit to the CBN their security plans and periodic
updates. Any security breach must have a record and such instances should be
reported to the CBN for col ective solutions and future prevention.
c. Information on usage, volume of transactions and other relevant information
should be supplied to the CBN on periodic basis for record purposes. In addition,
information on instances of fraud and perpetrators should be reported to the CBN
for record purpose.
d. In order to promote interoperability, all licensed switch operators are encouraged
to inter-connect to each other.
1.4.8 Internet Service Providers: Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should exercise due
diligence to ensure that only websites of financial institutions duly licensed by the
CBN are hosted on their servers. ISPs that host unlicensed financial institutions
would therefore be held liable for all acts committed through the hosted websites.
1.4.9 Cards Schemes: Cards can only be issued by deposit taking institutions duly
licensed by the CBN, however where cards are used in a closed environment, such as
telephone cards issued by a telephone company to its own customers or a fuel
station issuing cards to its customers, this is permissible. Any such card issued in a
closed environment should not be used for the exchange of value outside the closed
a. Banks must adopt a standard card numbering scheme. This is to ensure that
cards issued by different banks are numbered in a unique manner, thereby
preventing the possibility of two cards in the marketplace bearing the same card
b. The CBN will issue the first six numbers for each card issuing organization
followed by a card numbering sequence chosen by the bank.
c. All cards must maintain a minimum of 9 digits and a maximum of twenty (20)
characters. Banks that may consider the possibility of international acceptance of
their cards must consider using a sixteen (16) digit numbering sequence.
d. The CBN will utilize ISO card numbering specifications and all cards therefore will
be listed in the international registry of card issuers making cards and the issuers
in Nigeria easily identifiable to the international community.
1.4.10 Electronic Transfer of Funds: Only authorized financial institutions can undertake
electronic transfer of funds on behalf of customers.
a. Operators must ensure a safe and sound EFT network-switching environment,
which with adequate internal controls, should minimize errors, discourage fraud
and provide an adequate audit trail.
b. Operators must conduct periodic control and evaluations of the switch and the
network and ensure daily settlement of switch activity and balancing of network
activity. The Central Bank of Nigeria must be notified of fees charged as wel as
changes to the fees charged for services.
c. Management must ensure the existence of written and approved policies and
procedures covering personnel, security controls, operations and disaster
recovery, which must be enforced.
d. EFT Operators must conform to guidelines for security and privacy policies
established by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
1.5. Standards on Security and Privacy
1.5.1 Security Policy and Privacy
Banks should have in place a security policy duly approved by their Boards, and the
policy should address the following issues:
a. Basic approach to information security measures.
b. The ICT systems that must be protected and the reasons for such protection.
c. Priorities of information and information systems that must be protected.
d. Involvement and responsibility of management and establishment of an
information security coordination division.
e. Checks by legal department and compliance with laws/regulations.
f. The use of outside consultants.
g. Identification of information security risks and their management.
h. Impact of security policies on quality of service to the customers (for example,
disabling an account after three unsuccessful logins may result in denial of
service when it is done by somebody else mischievously or when restoration
takes unduly long time).
i. Decision making process of carrying out information security measures.
j. Procedures for revising information security measures.
k. Responsibilities of each officer and employee and the rules (disciplinary action,
etc) to be applied in each case.
l. Auditing of the compliance to the security policy.
m. User awareness and training regarding information security.
n. Business Continuity Plans.
o. Procedures for periodic review of the policy and security measures.
p. Procedures for change and configuration management covering all facilities.
1.5.2 Standards on Identification
All users of critical devices on networks used for e-banking should to be uniquely
identified to facilitate arrangements for authentication, access control, confidentiality
demarcations and enforcement of security policies. A customer registration process
primarily managed by a national root Certification Authority will ensure that all users
and critical devices are uniquely identified and linked with all authorized identification
systems (National Id, Passport, Driver’s License, etc)
a. All identities must be aged and renewed on expiry.
b. Authentication: A minimum of two-factor authentication process is required for all
user access to the services provided. Banks may need to consider the use of
Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) for authentication of users for e-banking services.
1.5.3 Access Control: Banks should introduce logical access controls over ICT
infrastructure deployed. Controls instituted by banks should be tested through
periodic Penetration Testing, which should include but should not be limited to;
a. Password guessing and cracking
b. Search for back door traps in programs.
c. Attempts to overload the system using Ddos (Distributed Denial of Service & DoS
(Denial of Service) attacks.
d. Check if commonly known vulnerabilities in the software still exist.
e. Banks may for the purpose of such Penetration Testing employ external experts.
1.5.4 Security Log (audit Trail): All computer accesses, including messages received,
should be logged. Al computer access and security violations (suspected or
attempted) should be reported and follow up action taken as the organization’s
a. Log of Messages: The banking applications run by the bank should have proper
record keeping facilities for legal purposes.
b. All received and sent messages must be kept in both encrypted and decrypted
form. (When stored in encrypted form, it should be possible to decrypt the
information for legal purpose by obtaining keys with owners’ consent.)
1.5.5 Backup, recovery & business continuity: Banks should ensure adequate back up
of data as may be required by their operations. Banks should also have, well
documented and tested business continuity plans that address all aspects of the
a. Both data and software should be backed up periodically, the frequency of back
up depending on the recovery needs of the application. Online / real time
systems require frequent backups within a day. The back-up may be incremental
or complete. Automating the back up procedures is preferred to obviate operator
errors and missed back-ups.
b. Recovery and business continuity measures, based on criticality of the systems,
should be in place and a documented plan with the organization and assignment
of responsibilities of the key decision making personnel should exist.
c. An off-site back up is necessary for recovery from major failures / disasters to
ensure business continuity. Depending on criticality, different technologies based
on back up, hot sites, warm sites or cold sites should be available for business
continuity. The business continuity plan should be frequently tested.
1.6. Vendors and Outsourcing
a. If a bank decides to use service providers or vendors to provide Electronic banking
services, it must exercise appropriate due diligence in evaluating their reputation,
financial status, and viability.
b. Banks must ensure that the service providers and vendors can perform as promised
and that they are capable of keeping abreast of new or changing technology.
c. When contracting for Electronic banking services, banks must carefully consider how
they intend to use third parties to design, implement, and support all or part of their
Electronic banking systems.
d. Banks must ensure that adequate controls are in place to monitor performance levels
and to swiftly respond to any problem or emergency, by providing specific
performance benchmarks to the service provider.
e. Banks when outsourcing, must maintain control through a Service Level Agreement
(SLA) over the services and products provided by third parties.
f. When negotiating contracts, bank managements must confirm that responsibilities
and accountability are clearly defined for each party.
g. Banks must ensure that they could exercise the control necessary to properly
manage the products or services.
h. Control items must include, but not limited to, a bank’s ability to perform audits or to
obtain from the service provider or vendor independent internal control audits.
i. Banks must establish controls that allow them to confirm third party recovery plans,
review their financial condition, and establish data ownership with the third party.
j. Banks must establish their rights, to the extent possible, in the event a third party
fails to perform under the contract or fails altogether.
k. Banks must consider the conditions under which they can terminate or change
service providers or vendors without incurring substantial liability in the event plans
change or performance standards are not met.
l. Banks must ensure that contract specify insurance to be maintained by the service
m. Legal counsel must review the contract to ensure that they are legally enforceable
and reasonably protect the bank from risks.
n. Software escrow agreement must be entered into for turnkey e-banking software
packages. The agreement must ensure that all relevant program files and
documentation are kept current and completed.
o. Where a vendor maintains the e-banking system operated by the bank in-house, the
bank must ensure adequate controls over the vendors’ access (including remote
access) to the banks system to maintain or upgrade software.
p. Activity logs must be maintained to monitor remote vendor access to the systems.
q. Vendor software distribution procedure must be assessed for adequacy and each
release accompanied by sufficient documentation.
r. Banks must notify the Regulatory Authorities of applicable service relationships
relating to e banking.
2.0 Monetary Policy
a. Electronic money scheme operators must supply the Central Bank with statistical
information, about the volume and value of their transactions, based on an agreed
b. All categories of electronic money would be treated as part of the deposit liabilities of
banks and subject to the application of reserve requirements.
c. The settlement procedure for e-banking transactions must conform to existing
regulations. Settlement should be only through clearing banks operating net
settlement schemes with NIBSS to CBN in Lagos, and outside Lagos, through the
CBN clearinghouses, and other form of clearing and settlement arrangements as may
be approved by CBN from time to time.
d. Only licensed deposit taking institutions can issue electronic payment instruments
e. Only institutions that are members of the cheque clearing system in the country are
permitted to participate in inter-bank payment systems for e-banking.