Find out what 'consumer credit' is and why you should check whether a firm can legally offer loans and credit business to consumers before you deal with them.
Most firms that offer goods or services on credit, lend money to consumers or provide debt plans and advice to consumers are offering ‘consumer credit’ products and services.
These firms include credit card issuers, credit brokers, payday loan companies, pawnbrokers, businesses offering hire-purchase agreements, logbook lenders (lenders who offer loans secured against your vehicle), peer-to-peer lenders, and debt management and collection firms.
We set and enforce the rules that consumer credit firms must follow. We also aim to ensure they treat customers fairly.
Beware of upfront fees
Some consumer credit firms require customers to pay a fee before being offered a loan or credit. But you should carefully consider why they also want your bank details. Be clear about the likely costs too, and 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 you use a firm we do not regulate.
Check whether a firm can offer loans and credit
We have a Consumer Credit Register of firms that have ‘interim permission’ to offer loans and credit.
If you deal with a consumer credit firm that does not have interim permission or our authorisation, you will not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service if things go wrong.
You may check whether a firm can offer loans and credit business by searching our Consumer Credit Register by firm name, postcode or firm reference number. This will help you find out:
- whether a firm has interim permission or our authorisation to offer consumer credit
- the type of activities covered by the interim permission or authorisation
- 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 information seems to be wrong 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 financial 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.