If you’ve added retail finance or Buy Now Pay Later options to your checkout, you definitely want to let your customers know. But are you aware that there are strict guidelines in the UK around how you communicate about your credit offerings?
Here’s a quick overview to keep you, your customers and your business on the right side of the law – while spreading the good news!
What is a financial promotion?
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) defines a financial promotion as ‘an invitation or an inducement to engage in an investment activity that is communicated in the course of a business’.
In other words, it means that any advertisement about financial products or services counts as a financial promotion. This includes anything that promotes, invites or seeks to persuade your customer to take out a credit product. This could take the form of:
• Printed adverts
• Social Media
• Conversations with customers, i.e ‘Real-time financial promotions’
Why do we need financial promotions guidelines?
1. It’s ethical
A Promotion may be the only source of information on which customers base their decision. With that in mind, it’s very important that you give the customer the right information at the right time and treat them fairly. This protects your reputation as a merchant and shows you’re open and honest with your customers.
2. It’s safer
If your customer chooses (is able to successfully take out) an unsuitable finance product, the potential for harm is greater due to the complex and often long-term nature of financial products. Avoid mis-selling your finance products by representing them clearly and transparently. This ensures your customers are making informed choices.
3. It’s the law
Retail finance providers (and merchants who partner with them) have a legal obligation to pay due regard to the information needs of customers, and communicate with them in a clear, fair and non-misleading way. This is more than just a should-d0 – it’s a must-do. In fact, the FCA considers materially misleading advertisements as a criminal breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008…so it’s not something you want to fall foul of.
Who’s responsible for financial promotions compliance?
Ownership of financial advertising compliance sits with your marketing, social media and consumer financial services teams designing and approving the promotions. It also lies with any Risk and Compliance teams who sign off on promotions.
Ultimately, you as the merchant are responsible for ensuring that any financial promotions you create or share comply with FCA guidance. However, your finance provider is also responsible to offer you guidance around compliance.
How is DivideBuy helping merchants with financial promotions?
At DivideBuy, we take a partnership approach to our merchant relationships. That’s why we provide you with a comprehensive guide to financial promotions with DivideBuy, training for your team and digital assets you can use – along with best practice examples of how to use these to get the most out of your finance solution.
Watch the video below to hear more about how we’re helping merchants to advertise their finance options safely and responsibly.