Google Introduces New Certification Requirements for Financial Services Advertisers
6 July 2021
Technology & eCommerce Regulation in the Spotlight
Google has recently announced the upcoming updates of its Financial Products and Services policy and verification process which aim to clarify the scope and requirements to allow the advertisements of financial services.
Under the new advertised identity verification process, advertisers will be required to submit legal information (e.g. personal identification, business incorporation documents) that proves their identity and in which country they operate.
According to the process, Google will generate a disclosure on any and all ads based on the information provided by the advertisers in the verification process. First to be required to adhere to the new process, will be advertisers promoting goods and services, informational or advisory content and regulated industries (e.g. gambling, financial products).
Advertisers who will be required to complete the verification process will be notified and given 30 days to submit the documentation. Once submitted, the advertisers will have another 30 days to complete any additional verification steps. Advertisers who fail to comply will have their accounts paused.
To supplement it global effort, Google also introduced specific certification requirements for advertisers of financial and crypto related products in the UK and US.
Google announced that starting September 2021, advertisers showing financial services ads to UK users will be required to demonstrate that they are authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), or qualify for one of the limited exemptions described in the FCA verification page. The requirement will apply to all financial services in the UK, either regulated or non-regulated, and will also include ads for financial services.
According to Google, this policy update is not the only measure that was built together with the FCA to tackle the issue of financial fraud. Over the past year, several verification processes have been introduced to help Google learn more about the advertisers and their business operations including the update of its misrepresentation policy, which is aimed at restricting the rates of return that firms can advertise and ban the use of terms that make unrealistic promises. Moreover, since early 2020, Google receives notification for any additions made to the FCA warning list, which now counts more than 4,000 websites.
These policy changes will come into effect on 30 August 2021, and Google will begin enforcing the rule a week later, on 6 September 2021.
The change of policy in the UK comes only a few weeks after Google’s announcement that beginning August 3, 2021, it will only run ads of Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCen“) registered or chartered crypto exchanges and wallets in the U.S.
According to Google, in order to be certified to present ads targeting U.S. residents, advertisers will need to be registered with FinCen as a “Money Services Business” and in at least one state as a money transmitter, or with a federal or state chartered bank. All prior crypto exchange certification by Google will be revoked on August 3, 2021 and advertisers will be required to request new certifications starting July 8, 2021.
Ads for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), DeFi trading protocols or otherwise promoting the purchase, sale or trade of cryptocurrencies and ad destinations that aggregate or compare issuers of cryptocurrencies or related products, will be prohibited.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding the compliance of your business operations with the constantly updated Google policies.
Ariel Yosefi, Partner
Head of Technology & eCommerce Regulation