SA startup ThisIsMe claims can process FICA filing in record three minutes

South African fintech startup, ThisIsMe claimed today to have set a new record for making a Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (FICA) filing on behalf of accounting institutions. It says it can do the filing in just three minutes — down from the two days to two weeks it usually takes.

“ThisIsMe has 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,” said Mark Chirnside, CEO, ThisIsMe in a press release.

He said consumers that have used ThisIsMe are able to skip queues and register new accounts within minutes instead of days, from anywhere in the world.

‘The entire process is completed digitally, with machine learning’

The amended FICA Act 2017 was signed into law in April. The Act is more onerous on accountable institutions slowing down the process and making it more expensive –having increased the costs for institutions to between R300 and R1 500 for each client.

The key change is a shift from a rules-based approach to a risk-based approach in ensuring FICA compliance. It means that accounting institutions must consider the potential risk involved with establishing a business relationship or concluding a single transaction with a client.

The intention of the new regulations is to combat financial crimes such as money laundering, terrorist funding and fraud.

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.

But Chirnside says ThisIsMe’s digital platform makes the process faster, more cost effective and with 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,” he said.

ThisIsMe — which was launched in 2014 and was ranked as one of the top global regtech companies by the CB Insights in 2017 — attracted $2.5-million in funding last year and has processed more than one million verifications. The startup is expanding into African and international markets and counts Investec and Silica as clients.

The startup is also a member of AlphaCode, a club for fintech entrepreneurs. Dominique Collett, head of AlphaCode said the startup is an 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.”

Featured image: Mark Chirnside (Supplied)



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