Update your bank details or face an account freeze

South Africans who don’t consistently update their personal information with their banks face having their accounts frozen, warns  South Africa Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC).

According to the Institute of Accountability, R700 billion has been lost in the past 20 years due to corruption, a large portion coming from money laundering, tax evasion as well as identity theft. Kalyani Pillay, CEO of SABRIC, says that the loss of money through fraud and cybercrime can be combated by people ensuring that they comply with the Financial Intelligence Centre Act.

“The more we know about them the more we are able to intervene … This way; we can catch fraud” easier.

Pillay said the main reason that there has been the sudden call for people to get FICA’d is because banks are going through a remediation process. “They are [obligated] to go through all their clients and check where certain controls have not been put in place.” A representative from Barclays Africa (Absa) said that because banks are going through the process, anything that is done to ensure that South Africans are FICA compliant is “welcomed with open arms”.

Last year the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) hit Absa, Standard Bank, FNB and Nedbank with a R125 million fine for not fully complying with regulations set by the Reserve Bank, among them, ensuring that their clients are FICA’d.

Pillay confirmed that banks have already started with the process of freezing bank accounts that are not in compliance with FICA regulations. She also made the assertion that the freezing of bank accounts is the last resort that banks take when communication between them and their clients have been unsuccessful. The responsibility lies with the consumer to communicate with the bank.

Consumers are required to go into their specific branches to update their details or to register their accounts with FICA. They should have with them their ID documents or smart card and a copy of their payslip and a utility bill for proof of address. Consumers are required to update their personal details as frequently as they change.