Financial Services & Google Ads: UK Advertisers Required to be Verified by Google by August 2021

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Rolling out in August 2021, any financial services advertisers or marketers will be required to be verified by Google so that they can show Google Ads to anyone looking for financial services on Google.

This verification is required for all ad formats and extensions.

Why is Google requiring verification now?

It’s quite simple – Google is cracking down on stopping scammers using platforms such as Google Ads to scam customers and the public.

Of course, this also helps to protect advertisers somewhat, as there will in theory be fewer scammers taking up advertising slots and competing on bids.

Google has also been rolling out advertiser identity verification, which in a similar fashion has meant that advertisers must submit identification to prove who they are and the country they work in. This isn’t quite on the same scale as the financial services verification process, but is another important step in ensuring all advertisers are legitimate and cracks down on spammers trying to rip off the general public. It also helps to boost confidence in Google Ads as a platform for both advertisers and searchers, as you can rest easy knowing Google is doing all it can to keep scammers off of the platform.

The Updated Policy for financial services

Google has stated the following:

Advertisers can initiate verification, or Google may require an advertiser to complete the verification process. Advertisers that fail to complete step 2 of verification within the time given will have their accounts paused.

Ads related to the following categories will not be considered financial services for the purposes of this policy, but are still required to comply with all other Google Ads policies:
– Products in scope of our Debt services policy
– Products in scope of our 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 our Complex speculative financial products policy and complete verification, if requested by Google.
– Gambling (see our Gambling and Games policy)
– Products in scope of our Cryptocurrencies, Credit repair, and Binary options policies

If you do not follow this policy and/or are not verified when you meet the criteria, then Google will not suspend your account instantly. But they will issue a warning which gives you 7 days until any form of suspension.

What do I need to do?

If you offer financial services, then you will need to go through the verification process in order to prove that you are authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority, or otherwise quality for some form of exemption. In this instance, it could be that you are targeting audiences which are looking for financial services, but you are not specifically offering or advertising financial services yourself.

If your ads fall within the scope of the updated policy, you will need to complete the UK Financials Services verification by September 6 2021 – or alternatively, take down the corresponding ads until you have been verified. Applications must be submitted by an authorised representative.

Google has outlined what is needed below:

– Google Ads account Customer ID
– Name of the Authorized Representative applying for verification
– Your business details (name, address, email address)
– Your domain(s) or website(s) included in the UK Financial Conduct Authority registry and any of your other domain(s) or website(s) used for advertising on Google Ads which are not included in the UK FCA registry
– UK FCA registration number (FRN)
– Warranty that you will comply with any and all obligations that relate to the communication of, approval of, and restrictions on, financial promotions pursuant to applicable legal and regulatory requirements

Please note that the business information you provide during this verification process must exactly match with the business details available on the UK FCA registry or records. For example, your verification may fail if the organization name or UK FCA registration number of your organization is different or not available in the UK FCA records. Once you successfully complete this verification, a certificate will also be applied to your Google Ads account. We will notify you via email on the status of your request. Note: If advertisers have completed Google’s advertiser identity verification program before, they will not be required to complete step 2.

You can apply for verification using the form found here.

You can read more about the UK financial services verification on Google’s help page. If you need any help with your Google Ad account or management, then please do reach out to the team at Xanthos who will be very happy to help.