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SA startup makes it possible to complete FICA process in just three minutes

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A South African startup has come up with a way to take the hassle out of the mostly long FICA process for businesses, cutting it down to just three minutes.

ThisIsMe, a company which enables businesses to reduce fraud, automate KYC checks, improve onboarding and increase revenue while providing an on-demand, seamless customer experience, set a new African record for the compliance process known as Know Your Customer (KYC) and in doing so have also set a new record for the fastest FICA in South Africa.

The more stringent, risk based The Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (FICA) Act 2017 was signed into law, after much delay, in April 2017. The Act is more onerous on accountable institutions (AIs) slowing down the process and making it more expensive.

“In the past, clients typically had to provide simple information like proof of identity, address and bank account but the new regulations require a more in-depth investigation to evaluate the risk of the client. Institutions need to check aspects such as whether their clients come from a higher risk country, the nature of their business relationships and connections to influential people like members of government,” ThisIsMe said.

The process to establish and verify the identities of clients has largely been paper based with clients having to arrive at a bank branch, for instance, for face-to-face identification. This tedious process of FICA onboarding has increased costs for institutions to between R300 and R1500 for each client.

“ThisIsMe’s digital platform makes it faster, more cost effective and there are fewer errors. The entire process is completed digitally, with machine learning technology ensuring that documents aren’t tampered with. In addition, we are able to ensure that a client’s information is regularly updated and secured. With a client’s permission, we are able to verify that a client is indeed who they say they are,” said Mark Chirnside, CEO, ThisIsMe.

ThisIsMe is a great example of how fintech businesses can add real value to financial services businesses. They have developed a business model around solving a real pain point for banks, asset managers and insurers. The product not only solves regulatory issues and reduces back office costs for these institutions but also improves overall customer experience. This is a great win-win,” said Dominique Collett, head of AlphaCode, of whoch ThisIsMe is a gold member.

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