Google Verification Requirements: Financial services advertisers in the UK must meet by August 2021




Introduction


Financial services advertisers in the UK must meet Google verification requirements by August 2021. Google has introduced advertiser identity verification. This requires the advertiser to provide personal, business and regulatory information, including details of their financial license to provide regulated financial services, unless they qualify for an exemption.



Google Advertiser Identity Verification


In the UK, this follows from February 2021 when Google wrote to the Financial Authority, outlining its plan to tackle scam ads for financial services. Google confirmed that it planned on implementing a procedure to verify the identity of financial services advertisers, a process called the Advertiser Identity Verification. It stated that this process would require such advertisers to submit personal legal identification, business incorporation documents or other information to prove the identity of such advertisers.



Deadline for implementing Google’s verification requirements


From August 2021, if your company wishes to show financial services adverts of any kind in the UK, including adverts to UK users who wish to seek financial services, you, the advertiser, must be verified by Google. As part of the verification procedure, you will be required to demonstrate that you are authorized and regulated with the UK’s financial regulator – the FCA.



Google’s Verification Requirements for FCA Firms


To be eligible for the UK FCA verification, financial services advertisers promoting regulated financial services activities must be authorized by the UK’s financial services regulator, namely, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and complete Google’s identity verification program.


Step-by-step guide for Google’s UK verification process



Step 1: UK FCA Authorization


For the verification process, you will need to provide certain information to Google using its form. This information includes your Google account number, the Identity of your authorized representative applying for verification, your business details, domain details and your FCA registration details.



Step 2: Advertiser Identity verification


Step 2 of Google’s verification process is applicable to advertisers who have not completed Google’s advertiser identity verification process before.


You will be asked to submit identity verification documentation in addition to providing the UK FCA authorisation details for your business. You will receive an email and an in-account notification that will guide you through the identity verification process in Google Ads.


After completing steps 1 and 2, you will be permitted to display financial services adverts in the UK, to UK users.



Google Verification Exemptions


Adverts relating to the following categories will not fall under the scope of Google’s policy concerning financial services. However, firms offering such services must still comply with all other Google Advert policies:


- Products in the scope of Google’s Debt services policy

- Products in the scope of Google’s Complex speculative financial products policy: contracts for difference, rolling spot forex, financial spread betting. Ads for this category will be able to target UK users seeking financial services as long as they meet the requirements of google’s complex speculative financial products policy and complete verification if requested by Google.

- Gambling: see Google’s gambling policy - Gambling and Games policy)

- Products in the scope of Google’s cryptocurrency, credit repair, and binary options policies.



Penalty for violating Google's Ad verification policy


If you are found to violate this policy, Google will issue you a warning, giving you 7 days before suspending your account.



How Buckingham Capital Consulting can help


Buckingham Capital Consulting is a leading international consulting firm. We can advise you on the best course of action and strategy based upon your business, both on advertising and verifying your business with Google and obtaining the relevant license(s) from the UK regulator- the Financial Conduct Authority, where and if required.