Advertising loans and credit responsibly

Commitment to advertising responsibly

Our founding management team have spent their careers in regulated consumer finance, so it's no surprise that responsible advertising, as part of an overall sustainable and compliant business model, is woven into the firm's DNA. Our mantra is clear: we approach advertising and financial promotions in a responsible way. We strive to make our adverts relevant, informative and above all socially responsible. We are an online loan and payday lending website and as such feel that we are no different than if we had a physical shop front and conducted business face to face. This advertising commitment is part of our overall strategy to provide our customers with a flexible and convenient way to address their short-term money needs. What this commitment also does is to promote straight forward and easy to read advertisements in plain English. A major focus of our financial promotions is make sure that there is no misleading content and that the message that we conduct business in a transparent way is clear. Want to know more about our online loans? Just visit our online loans page.

247Moneybox billboard

Exploring our strategies

To meet this commitment to be responsible in advertising we need to ensure that we have the correct systems and controls in place. All our adverts are signed off by the compliance team and escalated to the Executive team for the final say so. What both teams are looking for is to ensure that we are upholding the spirit of any particular regulations and guidance as well as the letter. Advertisements of our online loan product are only related to the specific products and services we offer. Being responsible in all areas of our business model, not just in making lending decisions, is a major component of creating a positive and sustainable operation. We've said it once but it's worth repeating, 247Moneybox is not only committed to responsible lending but is also committed towards responsible advertising and marketing.

"247Moneybox is not only committed to responsible lending but is also committed towards responsible advertising"
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Commitment 1: Advertise truthfully

Sounds obvious but every statement we publish we want to make sure is 100% accurate. We are not talking about obvious errors like offering a holiday to the USA when we mean France! No, we are talking about making assertions such as receiving the loan funds in 15 minutes. We see this claim from other lenders and brokers in the market. First off this probably means from approval not application and secondly this typically means that they will send funding instructions, as they have do not have control over the banking system. So, to make that claim without any caveats is just not on in our opinion. Pretty much everyone will know examples where a firm has attempted to misguide or misinform a prospective customer. It's a grey area but it could be argued that a great deal of advertising is manipulative in some way, indeed even subtly appealing to a certain demographic or geographical location could be construed as being deceitful. There might be nothing wrong with this but then again using famous cartoon characters from the days gone by might not be the most responsible way to advertise serious financial products.

Commitment 2: Clear concise content

We are advertising serious financial products but that doesn't mean our advertisements can't contain many eye-catching features. First of all, the content provided in the adverts is well thought out as well as being honest. In addition to being clear, we aim to use plain and simple language. The goal is that every aspect of the advert is easy to understand. We want to make sure that all of the promotions have a distinct promotional aim, this focus not only makes commercial sense but helps us design the most appropriate wording and design. We must assume that prospective customers know nothing about us or our online loans. Therefore, any descriptions of our loan terms are not only compliant but also comprehensive and should make it clear where further information can be obtained.

Content is rightly an important if not the most important part of any advertisement, as it provides the information about the service or goods that a company offers. It is our policy to ensure that our content does not contain anything that can be deemed offensive. We take much care about the language and words used in a particular promotion and have strict processes in place to ensure any literature is cross checked and counter signed before going live in a campaign.

Moreover, the emails we send for the advertisement of our payday loans are designed in such a way that the receiver can easily understand what the email contains. Because opening an email can have the danger of spamming. We also take care about the text size, its positioning and its background so that it is easy to read and prominent enough to understand.

Commitment 3: Build trust

As our advertisements or financial promotions are often the first contact we have with prospective customers, it is extremely important that any comments, claims or statements are not only truthful but also retain an element of respect. It is pretty obvious that statements used in the adverts should be clear and accurate but we want to go that extra mile and build a rapport or trust with our customers. To do that we here at 247Moneybox will strive to be humble and provide truthful and accurate statements that are clear and not misleading in any way shape or form. In addition, we ensure there we are providing quality content. This doesn't just mean that it's error free or indeed has the correct grammar but also is relevant and enriching to the reader. We avoid any misleading content in the statements and we also focus on overcoming any errors or spelling mistakes. Building on the notion of trust, we must ensure that our marketing efforts are not targeting a specific audience based on factors that can be classed as being vulnerable. An obvious one would be to ban any infantizing of our content using child friendly imagery such as well-known cartoon characters. Our services are for those aged 18+ so it would not make sense to consider children in forming our strategy.

Honest advertising with customer reviews

Much has been made of fake customer reviews and quite rightly in our opinion. There has been research conducted to show that prospective customers will consider reviews quite carefully before committing to purchase or use a service. With this in mind, some firms have attempted to manipulate or deceive customers by posting reviews that purport to be from bona fide customers but are really fake. With so many positive comments any negative insights into the firm's service will be drowned out. We want to assure all readers that we take significant steps to ensure our reviews are accurate and maintain appropriate audit trails to prove this fact. We also use independent third party review sites to give further comfort that prospective customers can have trust in the comments they read about us. Check out our reviews page.

Online customer reviews and feedback

Making comparisons with our competitors

Our business operates in the highly competitive high cost short term credit market. Given the pressures of being in such a competitive market, it's important that we don't let the competitive pressures factor into our financial promotions. What do we mean by this? Well we need to stay positive in our approach and extol the virtues of our service relative to our peers rather than "go negative".

Going negative in the case of advertising often means highlighting the weakness of other lenders in order to show in a good light. This may be appropriate in some circumstances, but we have found that this can quickly descend into a mudslinging match which ultimately damages both parties. However, just to be very clear here, we would actively encourage prospective customers to shop around before they decide on a lender. Indeed, to compare our payday loan against those provided by other lenders, see the link on our homepage. The freedom of information flow is crucial for a fully functioning market and we support that, we just want everyone to play nice!

Correct consents

As a responsible lender, we have the interests of our customers at the heart of our operational business model. A direct manifestation of this in relation to marketing is to ensure that we have the correct permission and consents to carry out the desired communication campaign. So, for example, if email addresses are to be used to send marketing then it is going to be classed as being electronic communications. As a result, the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) must be complied with. In the main, specific consent will be needed from the customer agreeing to marketing.

To be able to rely on this consent, the customer must have given it freely and it must be clear and specific. It must state that we are going to market to them or indeed depending on the context it must mention any other organisation or type of organisation that will market to them. In addition, it should state the type of communication to be used. We have a clear tick box in our application form covering exactly this. Customers should also be able to easily withdraw their consent. In the event problems arise, any firm that conducts marketing in this way will need to be able to clearly demonstrate exactly what an individual has consented to, how that consent was obtained and when.

Where has our marketing data come from?

Just as contentious foodies know and respect the chain from field to table, so to must an organisation that deals in data for marketing purposes. For example, if the information collected is to be shared or sold to other organisations for marketing purposes then the customer's consent to do this will also be required. In the past complaints have been made that firms have collected data from customers but the consent captured was too vague and not detailed enough for customers to know what type of firms or indeed the firms themselves that would be contacting them. This is unfair and so it comes back to the theme of being open and honest. These rules apply to both online and high street firms who operate in the UK. The regulator for data in in the UK is the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and there is further detailed information on advertising and marketing on the ICO's website.

One example is our use of the Mailing Preference Service.

What is the MPS?

The MPS is a service (free for consumers) set up over 20 years ago to enable consumers to opt out of receiving direct mail. The opt out is achieved by suppressing the names and UK home addresses used by the firms involved in direct marketing. The database is a key component of responsible advertising and firms must check the file before sending any marketing mailing. Not only is this good practice but also it is a requirement of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing administered by the Advertising Standards Authority. It is also a condition under the Code of Practice of the Direct Marketing Association.

As a UK consumer, you can remove your name from any direct mailing lists. In addition, it's possible to register a previous occupants' name at your current address or someone that has died. Some things to bear in mind:

  • The MPS only covers specifically addressed mail, it doesn't help with mail that is addressed "to the Resident" or "to the Occupier"
  • Only DMA members and users of the MPS are obliged to abide by it, i.e. mailers sent from abroad may still get through
  • If you sign up to the MPS your name will be removed from all the members' mailings
  • If you want your name removed from the mailing list of a specific company or charity only it is best to contact them directly, in writing and request that they remove your name. Under data protection law they must comply with your request.
  • It can take up to four months before your registration with the MPS becomes fully effective, although you should see a reduction in the amount of unsolicited mail you receive in this period. A registration with the MPS lasts five years.

Conclusion of our advertising responsibilities

We hope this page has been useful in setting out our policies and procedures in relation to advertising. As a responsible lender, we aim always to put our customers first and have a commitment to treating customers fairly. Payday loans and payday lenders have come in for quite a bit of criticism over the year and in some cases quite rightly. However, the industry is maturing and so are the actions and attitudes of stakeholders be they customers or lenders. Responsible advertising is just one more step to gaining recognition as a competent and sustainable organisation delivering credit in a professional manner.