Loans and credit - Financial Conduct Authority

Loans and credit

Last Modified: 14/04/2015
Find out what ‘consumer credit’ is and why you should check if a firm can legally offer loans and credit business before you deal with them.

Most businesses that offer goods or services on credit, lend money to consumers or provide debt solutions and advice to consumers will be offering ‘consumer credit’ products and services.

This includes credit card issuers, credit brokers, payday loan companies, pawnbrokers, businesses offering hire purchase agreements, log book lenders, peer to peer lenders, and debt management and collection firms.

We set and enforce the rules that consumer credit firms must follow, and ensure they treat customers fairly.

Beware of upfront fees

Some consumer credit firms ask customers to pay a fee before being offered a loan or credit. While this payment might be required to access a loan, you should carefully consider why you have to provide your bank details and be clear about the likely costs involved – always check the terms and conditions before going ahead.

You should also be aware that paying an upfront fee for a loan may be a scam, especially if you have been contacted out of the blue or use a firm that is not regulated by us – find out below how to check you are dealing with a regulated firm.

Asked to pay a fee when applying for a loan or credit? See why this could be a scam.

Check if a firm can offer loans and credit

We have a Consumer Credit Register of firms that have what we call ‘interim permission’ to offer loans and credit business.

If you deal with a consumer credit firm that does not have interim permission you will not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service if things go wrong.

You can check a firm can offer loans and credit business by searching our Consumer Credit Register by firm name, post code or firm reference number. This will help you find out:

  • whether a firm has interim permission or is authorised by us to offer consumer credit
  • the type of activities covered by the interim permission or authorisation, and
  • the contact details, trading names and main business of a consumer credit firm

We make every effort to ensure the Consumer Credit Register is accurate but be aware that some information is only updated when a firm updates the records we have for them.

If you see information that appears to be incorrect or missing you should contact our Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.

If you think a firm has been offering consumer credit business without interim permission or our authorisation you should report it to us.

Firms offering other services and products

The Consumer Credit Register does not include firms and individuals that are authorised or registered to offer other services and products, such as financial services, payment services, electronic money or collective investment schemes.

You can search the Financial Services Register for firms and individuals offering these types of services and products.

Consumer Helpline

t: 0800 111 6768


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