What does FICA mean?

In this week’s blog, we here at Consumer Debt Support (CDS) take an in-depth look into what it means when you need to be FICA’d. We explain this process and explore the reasons why.

The Financial Intelligence Act has been enforced since 2003 and is the only way your identity and income can be verified. So, when you go to a store to apply for credit, let us say you apply for a Woolworth’s store card, you will need the FICA documents for the application. It is alarming how many clients that visit our offices, do not have the required FICA documents to enter into the debt review process.

The FICA process is put into place to protect the banks, shopping store’s and other service industries for example mobile shop outlets and services from fraudulent and criminal activities. The FICA Act of 2003 is how the Law protect companies providing a paper trail of clients and their financial activities from unlawful money launderers and scammers hiding money earned from legal activities. Clients using various services are compelled to be FICA’d and their financial income be traced and verified as being legit.

What documents are needed to be FICA’d?

Your South African Identity document: Proving who you are and that your identity document is not fraudulent.

  1. Your South African Identity green book or your new ID card. Some institutions request a certified copy of your ID document to ensure it is not a false document.
  2. If you have lost your ID book or Identity card, you will have problems proving who you are. When you discover your ID has been stolen, report it to your nearest police station and best your get your new ID card as soon as possible.
  3. Most companies or institutions will not accept a valid driver’s license or passport as proof of Identity. Always ask to ensure it will be accepted.

Proof of address: This proves the physical residential address where you currently are living. This is helpful to have FICA to ensure registered post or normal mail when posted reaches the correct and most recent delivery address.

  1. When providing proof of address, a utility bill is acceptable not older that three calendar months and must be addressed to you.
  2. A lease agreement is not always accepted as a valid proof of address, as you could have vacated the property. Best one asks beforehand if it will be accepted.
  3. Telkom account, mobile account, municipality account, doctors account, insurance letter and a letter from SARS will also be accepted.
  4. If you are renting a room at a property, you can ask the owners to provide you with a written affidavit that you live at their property and a copy of their rates and taxes account. Have these documents commissioned and all parties must be present.
  5. For a debt review application, we will accept a letter from your employer where your physical place of work is used as proof of the court jurisdiction you are working at Monday to Friday.

Proof of income:

  1. Your salary advice you receive month end on pay day, verified with three calendar months bank statements with a visible bank stamp.
  2. If one is self-employed, a letter from the bookkeeper or accountant confirming income as per the attached bank statements of three calendar months.
  3. An affidavit at the nearest South African Police Services (SAPS) is always a good back up plan. Together with three months bank statements confirming the money transferred into the bank account and showing the amount income.


In conclusion:

With every financial credit application, debt review assessment and application, sequestration application and property purchase or the transfer of ownership, legal representation by an attorney’s office, or being represented in court, no matter your status in society, you will be FICA’d. Best is to always ensure ID documents are kept safe for when you need to be FICA’d. Financial Institutions like banks can call on their account holders or investors at any time to request a new updated FICA as the documents the have on record are most likely outdated and need to be verified with the latest information available.


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