SA’s Mama Money simplifies FICA registration with selfies

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South African fintech startup Mama Money has introduced an online process that allows users to complete their Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) registration by taking a selfie.

Founded in 2013 before being publicly launched in January 2015, Mama Money was the first purely homegrown South African company to be licensed by the South African Reserve Bank as an Authorised Dealer with Limited Authority (ADLA), and aims to cut the cost of sending money between countries.

The startup expanded into Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania earlier this year, and also currently sends to Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi, and India. In a first for South Africa, approved by the Financial Intelligence Centre and the South African Reserve Bank, it now allows FICA registration with selfies.

To register, a user must download the Mama Money Family App from the Google Play store, enter their contact details, and take a photo of their passport or ID as well as a selfie of them holding the document. This is all that’s needed to register to begin sending money home, with the whole process taking less than three minutes.

“Financial services in South Africa are very difficult to access for migrants who are earning money from informal jobs. We help them to send money back to their families easily and affordably,” said Mama Money co-founder Raphael Grojnowski.

“Our new registration process eliminates requesting documentation that they don’t have. It offers the option to self-register via the app. This is in addition to the current options to register in person at a PEP store, or with a Mama Money agent.”  

Grojnowski said this new addition is also more convenient for higher income foreign nationals living in SA and employers of foreigners who can now register their employees online.

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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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