Google has today announced an update to its AdWords terms and conditions that will ban advertising for some lending products on Google.
The update will go into effect on July 13 this year, at which point the Internet giant will ban payday loans and other predatory financial “services” from its online channels. These include loans with repayment dates that fall within 60 days of being issued. Loans with an annual percentage rate (APR) of 36 percent or more will also be phased out.
“When reviewing our policies, research has shown that these loans can result in unaffordable payment and high default rates for users so we will be updating our policies globally to reflect that,” said David Graff, director of global product policy at Google, in a blog post.
This won’t affect countless other loans that are advertised through Google, including mortgages, student loans, car loans, and credit cards.
Google previously revealed that it had blocked 780 million ads in 2105, up 50 percent from the year before, for reasons from phishing scams to counterfeiting.
“When ads are good, they connect people to interesting, useful brands, businesses and products,” added Graff. “Unfortunately, not all ads are — some are for fake or harmful products, or seek to mislead users about the businesses they represent.”
Google has previously faced the heat from regulators over spurious ads for payday loans, which offer small amounts of money with a high interest rate attached, normally to be repaid when the borrower is next paid. At the time of writing, Google’s AdWords policy on such products states:
Because a consumer advisory has been issued about payday loans, AdWords will only serve payday loan ads if the phrase “payday loan” (or similar terms) are included in the user’s query. On the Google Display Network, these ads will be shown only on sites related to payday loans.
So while Google was already restricting how such ads appeared on its online properties, and when, it will now go so far as to block any product aligning itself with payday loans, a move that will be welcomed by many (though probably not by the lenders).