Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Business

Google to ban all payday loan ads

Google announced Wednesday that it would ban advertisements for payday loans and related products on its website, saying they often lead to unaffordable repayment terms and financial harm to consumers.

David Graff, director of global product policy at Google, made the announcement in a blog post, saying the global ban would apply to loans for which repayment is due in 60 days and for loans that carry an annual percentage rate of 36 percent or higher.

"This change is designed to protect our users from deceptive or harmful financial products," he wrote. "Ads for financial services are a particular area of vigilance given how core they are to people's livelihood and well-being."

Graff said the ban, which takes effect July 13, was in line with the Web giant's effort to keep off the site any ads for products or services that are potentially harmful to consumers. He said the company would continue to review the policy, "but our hope is that fewer people will be exposed to misleading or harmful products."

The announcement was sure to please organizations that have argued against predatory lending.

Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform, said in a statement that Google's new standards would stop abusive lenders from marketing what she described as "debt-trap products that do serious and lasting harm to consumers."

In 2013, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition representing more than 200 national organizations, called for greater oversight of payday lenders, saying they were discriminatory in their aggressive marketing to minority and low-income communities.

Last year, Google disabled more than 780 million advertisements for reasons ranging from counterfeiting to phishing. Graff said the new policy would not affect companies offering services such as mortgages, car loans, student loans, commercial loans and credit cards.

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