SA startup ThisIsMe claims “African record”


South African startup ThisIsMe claims it has set a new African record by completing a FICA process – which used to take anywhere between two days and two weeks – within three minutes.

Launched in 2014, ThisIsMe allows a user to prove their identity and that they are still alive in order to prevent fraud such as identity theft. It has a focus on compliance related to the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) and the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) in the financial space.

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

The key amendment is a shift from a rules-based approach to a risk-based approach in ensuring FICA compliance. This means that AIs must consider the potential risk involved with establishing a business relationship or concluding a single transaction with a client. ThisIsMe is helping to speed up this process.

“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, chief executive officer (CEO) of ThisIsMe.  

“Consumers that have used ThisIsMe explain that they are delighted to skip queues and register new accounts within minutes instead of days, from anywhere in the world.”

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.

“ThisIsMe’s digital platform makes it faster, more cost effective and there are fewer errors. The entire process iscompleted 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,” Chirnside said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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