Google says payday loans are just as bad as drugs and guns

 
Lynsey Barber
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Drugs are bad. So are payday loans (Source: Getty)

Payday loans are as bad as drugs, weapons and counterfeit goods, Google has said, adding them to its list of items banned from being advertised on its search engine.

Lenders offering payday loans will be banned from advertising anywhere on Google across the globe, the search giant has said, signalling another nail in the coffin of the controversial lending practice.

"We will no longer allow ads for loans where repayment is due within 60 days of the date of issue. In the US, we are also banning ads for loans with an APR of 36 per cent or higher," Google said in a blog post.

Read more: Wonga secures FCA authorisation

The sector joins the likes of drugs, weapons, cigarettes and counterfeit goods which are prohibited under its Adwords policy.

"This new policy addresses many of the longstanding concerns shared by the entire civil rights community about predatory payday lending. These companies have long used slick advertising and aggressive marketing to trap consumers into outrageously high interest loans - often those least able to afford it," said Wade Henderson, the president and chief executive of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in the US.

The ban on payday loan ads will come into effect from 13 July, however, a group representing lenders has said the move goes too far.

Read more: Payday lender Cash Genie collapses into administration

“It’s disappointing that a site created to help give users full access to information is making arbitrary choices on the advertisements users are allowed to see from legal businesses.

"Our membership supports efforts by Google to ensure information available on its site, including through advertisements, is transparent and clear to consumers. Today’s announced policy of completely prohibiting lending companies from advertising legal products goes too far," said the president and chief executive of the Online Lenders Association Lisa McGreevy.

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