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Knowing Credit: The Basics [Part 3/7]

Posted: 14 Aug 2017

3 mins to read

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When you think about credit, what comes to mind? Debt, credit cards, bills? We will help you to understand the basics of Credit.

Welcome back! Last week, we discussed the pros and cons of credit and the role of credit bureaux. Remember, you can monitor your credit score by subscribing My Credit Check. If you missed last week’s article, feel free to review it by clicking here. Definition of the week: FICA The Financial Intelligence Centre Act 38 of 2001 (FICA) came into effect in 2003 and was introduced in order to combat financial crimes and related fraud. The act allows for easier tracking of the movement of money, and therefore is useful in preventing money laundering and terrorist financing activities.
Why must I undergo the FICA process? FICA is there to minimise the risk for both the applicant or account holder and the institution or company with which they are interacting. While many view the process as bothersome because of the range of documentation needed, this process and the appropriate documents provide safety and prevent identity and financial frauds. Identity theft has a large impact on the lives of victims, involved companies, their insurance, and even the economy. FICA’s aim is, as far as possible, to reduce this impact by verifying who you are, where you live, your banking details, and more. Identity Verification Security web.png When do I need to undergo the FICA process? There are many different scenarios that require an applicant or account holder to undergo the FICA process. A few of these include:
  • applying for credit or finance,
  • certain financial transactions,
  • buying a house,
  • updating account information,
  • applying for insurance,
  • applying for investment plans,
  • personal details verification.
What documents do I need?
  1. Your green barcoded South African Identity Document or smart identity card is one of the most important documents you need. Only foreign passports will also be accepted for foreigners.
  2. Proof of current address no older than 3 months. This is usually in the form of a utility bill reflecting the name and residential address of the person, but can also be any of the following documentation which also reflects the name and residential address of the person:
    1. Bank statement
    2. Telephone or cell phone account
    3. An insurance policy document
    4. Third-party or Retail credit account
    5. Rental or lease agreement
    6. Student registration letter
    7. An official SARS document[Note: This is not an exhaustive list, but instead serves as a list of examples.
Depending on the type of application, additional documentation might include:
  1. Tax registration number confirmation from SARS or the tax governing body of your country of residence if a foreigner.
  2. Copy of your bank statement. Post, email, counter or ATM derived statements are all acceptable forms.
While this lesson on FICA has attempted to cover the most important aspects, it is in no way legal advice nor does it pose as an authority on the Financial Intelligence Centre Act. If you’d like more information on the requirements, consult the institution you are dealing with. Before applying for credit, loans, renewal of licences, etc., make sure you do your homework and find out exactly which documents you need. That way you’ll avoid the frustration of being turned down. Most institutions, such as banks, insurers, and others will have a section on their websites regarding FICA and their requirements. Additionally, if you’d like to read up more on the Act, you can download the Act here.  Come back next week to learn more about making the decision to take out credit!