The Importance of FICA

19 April 2021

For many South Africans, hearing FICA signals bureaucratic paperwork, hassle and wasted time. Although implementing FICA ticks these boxes, it remains an important part of South African legislation.

So, what is it?

The Financial Intelligence Centre Act, 38 of 2001 (commonly known as FICA) is a South African law designed to fight and reduce financial crime. Its main purpose is to reveal the movement of money derived from unlawful ongoings and to stop illegal activities such as money laundering, fraud, tax evasion and corruption.

FICA creates a legal framework for the identification and verification of individuals that ensures businesses and financial institutions know the true identity of their prospective business partners - a legal requirement under South African law. This practice is called “Know Your Client” (KYC) and is one of the services offered by ThisIsMe to help secure business transactions with ease.

By ensuring their client is legitimate and honest, FICA not only helps businesses to curb illegal activities, but also catches those who try and commit financial crime.

To ensure they are FICA compliant, South Africans will be asked to provide:

  • A valid I.D. (a valid passport for foreign residents)
  • Proof of residence (deed of sale or recent utility bill)
  • Alternatives to an I.D. include driving license, birth certificate or a sworn affidavit

Examples of when South Africans will typically be asked to provide FICA documentation include when applying for a bank loan, buying insurance, registering a business or buying a car or a house.

Acquiring FICA documentation can be a time-consuming hassle, having to essentially wait in long bank queues for your turn to prove your authenticity. To help reduce the hassle of being FICA compliant, ThisIsMe offers individuals a service known as Fast FICA. Fast FICA allows you to instantly share your FICA documentation with any of ThisIsMe’s merchant partners, achieving instant FICA verification and compliance – no more searching for lost paperwork and waiting in queues. To find out more, visit our website here.

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