New verification requirements for financial services ads are set to be introduced by Google’s ad platform later this year meaning countless financial advertisers will need to verify their services with Google or risk being banned from the platform. We walk you through what exactly Google has changed and how the new verification process could affect your business.
Google Ad’s New Financial Services Policy
If you are a financial services provider in the UK and use Google Ads to advertise your products or services, new rules brought in by the platform could mean that you will need to change the way you advertise your business online. New rules on who is allowed to advertise financial services on Google mean that unless you verify your account using Google’s new finance verification system, you will not be able to advertise on Google.
When Does the New Google Update Happen?
Google’s financial services policy update will be updated on the 30th August 2021. Users will then have 7 days to ensure their account is properly registered before the new rules are enforced. Those who have not registered by this point may run the risk of having their account suspended and any finance-related ads will not be displayed past this point without verification.
Why is Google Changing its Financial Products and Services Policy?
As part of its process of cracking down on harmful or deceitful services, Google has implemented the new financial services verification process to ensure that users have better access to the information needed to make informed financial decisions and to ensure the services they access are legitimate. Part of this includes proof that the financial service is accredited by the UK Financial Conduct Authority or is exempt under one of Google’s strict financial service exemptions.
Who Will be Affected by the New Google Financial Services Update?
Anyone who advertises on the Google Ads platform for financial service, personal loans and related products will be required to verify their account under Google’s new guidelines in order to target users who are looking for financial services and show financial service ads of any kind in the UK. Any legitimate financial businesses who are registered with the UK Financial Conduct Authority should see little change once they have verified their account with Google as the aim is to root out online financial scams which may have been taking advantage of the system.
How to Verify Your Google Ads Account As Part of the New Financial Services Verification Process
To register your account as part of the new UK financial services verification on Google, simply complete your account details on the financial services verification form here detailing whether you are a UK FCA-authorised financial services advertiser or fall under one of the list of exemptions such as a service that is not promoting a financial service but still wishing to target those searching for such a service.
You’ll need to show evidence that you are registered with the FCA and applications must be submitted by an authorised representative. As part of the Google finance policy, you’ll also need to verify your identity with Google to prove you are who you say you are. Any advertisers who fail to complete the second step of the verification process have their accounts paused by Google.
Why Must you be Registered With the FCA to Verify your Google Account?
As part of their cracking down on financial fraudsters using the Google Ads platform, Google now works closely with the UK regulatory body to ensure any advertisers using their platform to promote their services are legally verified and follow UK guidance on financial activity. Under the Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA) 2000, the Financial Conduct Authority is required to monitor any financial activity in the UK. Any firm carrying out regulated financial activity in the UK such as banks, insurance companies and other finance-related organisations must be registered with them unless exempt and an authorised representative must submit an application to the FCA for authorisation and show that they are willing and able to follow out the required regulations. You can find out more about registering with the FCA on their website here.
Up until recently, Google offered no way to regulate whether a company advertising on Google Ads was authorised by the FCA which led to a number of fraudulent ads only combated by paid ads for anti-scam warnings. However, under changes in post-Brexit laws, the FCA has now warned Google that it may take legal action if it doesn’t do more to combat scam advertisements targeting those looking for financial services. If you continue to run ads targeted at these ad groups once the changes come into place, your ads and account may get banned by Google.
What to do if Your Ads Get Banned Under Google’s New Finance Policy
If your account has not completed the financial services verification process by the 6th September Google may have cause to suspend your Google Ads account. However, all is not lost if this happens. Google will issue a warning 7 days before it actions any account suspensions to allow you to fix the issue yourself. If you complete the registration and verification process before this time your account should not be suspended and you will be able to carry on promoting your ads on Google Ads. If your Google Ads account has any ads that fall within the scope of financial services and you do not intend to verify your account, it is vital these ads are removed before the 6th September 2021 to avoid issues.
If your Google Ads account has been banned from advertising, the first thing you should do is check to see if you have had an email from Google warning of the impending ban. Google will not ban an account without informing the owner and will specify what has caused the ban. If you have ads targeting those looking for financial services and have not verified your account with Google under the new financial services rules, for example, Google should have notified you that this is in breach of their guidelines and removing these ads should allow you to regain the use of your Google ads account.
If your company is not registered with the FCA and does not fall under the exemptions listed by Google, there will not be a way to continue advertising your financial services on the platform and any attempts to do so will see a ban enforced by Google. See the above section on ‘Why Must you be Registered With the FCA to Verify your Google Account?’ to see how to register your business with the FCA.
Google Ads Specialists
Our team of PPC and Google specialists are dedicated to staying up to date with every one of Google’s updates and have experience managing a wide range of account types. We are experienced in a number of challenging Google ads issues and campaigns so are perfectly placed to make your online advertising efforts a success.