The Financial Intelligence Centre Act or FICA was passed in 2001 as a means of preventing financial fraud, criminal money laundering activities and tax evasion. It requires any person who wants to open a bank account or access other financial services such as a loan or credit to prove their identity and residential address by means of a number of different documents.
Documents which are acceptable for presenting for the FICA process include a South African identity book or card, a temporary ID document, a valid SA or foreign passport, an asylum seeker certificate or refugee ID, and/or a valid driver’s licence, providing the displayed address is the same as that in the application.
FICA is a requirement under the law and institutions that provide financial services must be compliant and solicit proper documentation from prospective clients or customers. FICA provides transparency and allows banks and other financial institutions to know their customers and trace the provenance of incoming money and the destination of outgoing funds.
It is always advisable to have one or other of the FICA document with you at all times, should be called on for any reason to prove your identity, for example during a routine roadblock or even in the event that you are involved in an accident and emergency services need to know who you are.