Merchant onboarding is the process of registering a merchant to accept card payments, and it is subject to FICA requirements in South Africa. 


FICA (Financial Intelligence Centre Act) is a set of regulations designed to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing in South Africa. Here are some of the key FICA requirements for merchant onboarding in South Africa. We have also outlined the general requirements for merchant onboarding.


FICA requirements for merchant onboarding in South Africa


Most payment service providers have a strict requirement that all merchants supply the following FICA documents (not older than 3 months) with their applications.


1. Copies of owners’ / Directors’ IDs certified by a Commissioner of Oaths (not older than 3 months).


2. The latest proof of business residential address, for example, a fully signed lease agreement / Municipality bill / Tax Invoice from a supplier / Telkom bill - one document only (not older than 3 months).


3. Copies of CC documents – if a Close Corp or Company, registration documents with the content of Directors on a Company Letterhead (signed by all Directors and Shareholders).

It is important to note that: The Business must be registered with CIPC.


4. Bank-stamped letter (on bank letterhead) confirming the banking details (stamp not older than 3 months).


5. A certified copy of the company's original signed resolution that confirms the individuals authorized to sign on behalf of the company or a letter on the company's official letterhead confirming the authorized signatories or individuals authorized to represent the company by signing.


6. Merchant’s affiliation certificate (i.e., NAAMSA, MIWA, MTA, RMI, MIOSA, etc.) where applicable. 

7. Insurance Policy covering Third Party Losses and Damages – please include proof that this policy is current and valid. 


8. B-BBEE Certificate or Affirmation Letter (on the date of submission) not older than 3 months certified by a Commissioner of Oaths. This document must be signed by the owner or the authorised signatory).


9. Tax Clearance Certificate for the current FY (preferably on the date of the RT46 submission).


10. A signed letter on company letterhead confirming that no shares have been issued is required if the merchant is a sole proprietor.


It's important to note that the specific FICA requirements for merchant onboarding may vary depending on the acquirer or payment service provider. Merchants should contact their providers to understand the specific requirements and documentation needed for onboarding.


General Requirements for Merchant Onboarding Process


1. All the documents that you submit/upload on the system are in PDF Format. NOT in .tiff, jpeg, Outlook Mail, etc.

2. We recommend registering your company on Google Business (which is free) if possible, as it will help your payment processor and yourself to validate your business address digitally. Also, ensure that the GPS coordinates for your workshop address are accurate.


3. The Proof of Address (POA) indicating the company name and the physical address of the company workshop. PO Box is often not allowed as the address will be validated.


4. Input your business name exactly as it appears on the CIPC document. If your company name does not include (Pty) Ltd or CC at the end, please do not add it. Doing so may result in FICA disqualification, which would require both parties to restart the process, causing unnecessary delays.

5. Verify that your bank account name matches the name on your CIPC document, including your branch name. To do so, use the Universal Bank Codes provided by your bank.


Confirm that your business insurance policy is active and not up for renewal or expired. Your policy should provide coverage for the following: 

  1. Third-party losses of customer assets (external to motor traders), 
  2. Third-party damages to customer assets (external to motor traders)
  3. Third-party theft of customer assets (external to motor traders).


6. In case you use a trade name for your company that is not registered with CIPC, please provide a letter on the company's letterhead, signed by the owner, CEO, MD, or other authorized signatory, confirming the name. Please ensure that the trade name is not already registered and in use by another company in South Africa, as this can create duplications in the system.


7. To verify the shareholders, the following documents are the FICA requirements for merchant onboarding: 

  1. 1) CIPC documents such as CoR15.2 or CoR14.3, 
  2. 2) A verification document on the company's letterhead, signed by all directors and including certified copies of their ID documents, which have been certified by a Commissioner of Oaths and are no older than 3 months.
  3. 3) A shareholder certificate that has been signed by all parties.

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