Regulator probes online loan promotions

Cash Image copyright PA
Image caption A quarter of investigations related to short-term, high-cost loans

The City regulator has opened 227 investigations since April into the way loans and other credit are advertised to potential customers.

Four out of five of these were digital promotions - targeting individuals via websites, emails and text messages.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has reviewed 1,500 promotions for personal credit since it took over regulation of the sector.

But it said most had changed adverts after the FCA had raised concerns.

Under the regulator's rules, all financial promotions must be clear, fair and not misleading to customers.

The regulator found some cases in which adverts failed to display the annual interest rate of a loan, or failed to point out the risks of missing repayments.

Other cases saw debt management firms failing to make their charges clear, promises of debt regardless of customers' circumstances, and misleading sponsored links following internet searches.

Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the FCA, said that firms could improve. A quarter of the investigations related to short-term, high-interest products, such as payday loans.

"We are disappointed to see standards fall short of what we would expect," he said.

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