Opening a bank account in South Africa has gotten easier than in the earliest times because of the widely available digital banking solutions


However, as easy as opening an account for legitimate purposes is, it is also easy to open an account to keep funds from illegal activities such as money laundering and terrorist financing in banks which is why in South Africa, there are banks requirements for FICA Verification.


The FICA agency helps by enforcing AML (anti-money laundering) laws in South Africa. To comply with FICA Act AML requirements, there are bank requirements for FICA verification which includes certain FICA documents that prospective account holders must submit to a bank in South Africa before an account is opened.


These 'FICA documents' as called in South Africa, will help monitor, track, trace an account holder in an event of money laundering or terrorist financing, for example.


This article addresses the banks requirements for FICA verification and identification as well as some KYC documents for FICA verification and identification. 


What does it mean to be FICA Verified?


The purpose of Fica is to detect and prevent the proceeds of illicit activities, money laundering and the funding of terrorism and related activities. To make this possible, Fica establishes a legal framework which requires customers to be identified and verified, and transactions to be monitored.


When you submit your banks requirements for FICA verification, you can be assured that you are FICA verified.


Who can open a bank account in South Africa?


  • South African citizens
  • Foreign nationals living in South Africa


Can I open a bank account in South Africa as a non-resident?


Non-residents of South Africa can open a bank account in the country, as South African banks offer international accounts tailored to this purpose. However, the fees and maximum deposits may vary from those of resident accounts, so it is important to check with the bank before setting up an account.


The major thing, however, is to ensure you submit your banks requirements for FICA verification if must own an account as a citizen or a foreigner.


What is needed to open FNB Account?


In South Africa, banks including FNB must abide by the banks requirements for FICA verification and keep accurate records of their customers. 


Therefore, the same requirements must be met when opening an account at any bank. However, there are documents needed for FNB FICA KYC compliance.


What are the Banks Requirements for FICA Verification of Prospective Clients? -FCA Verification Checklist 


In order to comply with FICA, banks must obtain Know Your Customer (KYC) documents, including customer identification and proof of residence, when opening accounts. This prevents money laundering and fraud. So, what document does a bank need to FICA verify clients?


The following are the FICA KYC requirements or documents:

  • A green barcoded ID or a valid passport if you are a foreign national.
  • Proof of your residence (not more than 3 months old) such as a utility bill to confirm where you live, or a letter of verification from your bank, landlord, the local chief, or councillor.
  • Non-residents must show proof of a work or study visa.


What  Alternative Documents can I use for FICA Verification?


If your green bar-coded national identity document or identity card (smart card) is lost, stolen, or not yet issued, one of the following forms of identification will be accepted:


1. A valid passport and/or valid driver's licence.

2. A valid birth certificate (for minors).

3. If an ID is not available, an affidavit or police statement, as well as evidence of income, must be provided to demonstrate an application for a new ID has been made with the Department of Home Affairs.


It is important to note that KYC documents must be provided for each individual who is associated with your accounts, even if you are the primary account holder.


What documents are Acceptable as Proof of Residency for FICA Verification?

These documents are the acceptable proof of address for FICA verification:


  • A short-term insurance policy.
  • A utility bill for water and electricity
  • A municipal rate and tax invoice
  • A letter from local councillors or chiefs
  • A retail statement for clothes,
  • The most recent tax return
  • A cellphone or landline account


FICA Documents Required for Companies


These FICA documents are required for business:


For an existing private company (PTY Limited)


  • Company's registration documents
  • Evidence of the business's physical address
  • Mandate or resolution (for businesses with multiple directors)

 If there are any related parties, this additional information are required:

  • South African identity documents or passports of related parties
  • Shareholder confirmation documents of related parties
  • Proof of physical address of related parties


For Close Corporations (CC)


  • Proof of Head Office or Trading registered business address
  • Registration documents 
  • Proof of Authority to submit an application (Applicable if CC is owned by more than one party).


For your related parties you’ll need to supply:

  • List of all members
  • South African identity documents or passports of related parties


It is essential to be aware that the only documents accepted as evidence of a registered business address are the following:


  • Letter from the municipality confirming the business address
  • Tribal authority letter confirming the business address
  • Signed letter from an independent auditor/accountant on their company letterhead confirming physical/trading/operational address for the business


No documents should be more than three months old, apart from those in exceptional circumstances except for:


  • A lease or rental agreement (signed within the last twelve months)
  • A home loan statement from a different financial institution (in the previous six months)
  • An official SARS document (issued less than one year old)
  • A Long/Short term insurance policy document from another financial services provider (issued less than one year)
  • A letter or statement from a body corporate/governing body (issued less than one year)
  • A motor vehicle registration/licence document (issued less than one year)
  • A television licence renewal confirmation letter (Issued less than one year)


Get on the top of the Compliant Game!


Banks requirements for FICA verification help customers and businesses become FICA compliant. Ensure your business is AML and KYC compliant without waiting for FICA’s request.


The Youverify Operating System helps businesses meet global regulatory requirements including Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) and Counterterrorism Funding (CTF) regulations across the world.


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