Limited permissions for consumer credit firms

Discover the regulated activities that require limited permission and the details of the application process. 

Full or limited permission?

Limited permission is a term we use to describe the level of FCA authorisation some firms will need to apply for.

We have two categories of authorisation for consumer credit firms: ‘limited permission’ and ‘full permission’. Whether you need to apply for limited or full permission depends on the regulated activities your firm will carry on. Use our step-by-step tool to help you decide (PDF).

Regulated activities that only need limited permission

  • consumer hire (such as tool and car hire)
  • credit broking (other than by a domestic premises supplier) where the sale of goods or non-financial services is the main business, and broking is a secondary activity designed to help finance the purchase of those goods or services (eg certain motor dealerships and high-street retailers that introduce customers to a finance provider)
  • credit broking in relation to consumer hire or hire purchase agreements
  • lending where the sale of goods or non-financial services is the main business, and there is no interest or charges and the agreements are not hire-purchase or conditional sale agreements (eg certain golf clubs or gyms allowing deferred payment for membership)
  • consumer credit lending by local authorities (where lending is within the scope of the Consumer Credit Directive).
  • not-for-profit bodies providing debt counselling and/or debt adjusting, including those who also provide credit information services

If you carry on lending, secondary broking and/or consumer hire activities under a limited permission, you can also apply to carry on limited permission debt counselling, debt adjusting and providing credit information services.

Limited permission activities (other than those carried on by not-for-profit bodies or if the activity in question is providing credit information services) do not cover activities relating to agreements secured by legal mortgages on land.

Application process

Applying for limited permission involves a shorter application process and lower application fee than applying for full permission.

You’ll have to supply us with information about your firm’s activities, history, future plans, financial details, systems and controls and approved persons, among other things. The amount of information expected is usually less than for a full permission application.

Example: financial details required

  • State your estimated consumer credit income
  • Confirm your firm will remain solvent

Detailed information

Check our consumer credit firm limited permission application guidance notes

View an example of the consumer credit firm limited permission application form

For further information on consumer credit lending by local authorities (where lending is within the scope of the Consumer Credit Directive) please see PERG 2.9.24

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