Magazine article American Banker

Google's Payday Ad Ban: Smart Move, but It Can Do Better

Magazine article American Banker

Google's Payday Ad Ban: Smart Move, but It Can Do Better

Article excerpt

Byline: Arjan Schutte

Google recently announced that it will ban payday loan-sponsored ads come July 13. On the surface, this is a fantastic idea and one I've been advocating for years. But below the surface there's an opportunity for Google to make a big, positive impact for vulnerable consumers and good actors in the short-term lending industry. But to do so, Google needs to refine elements of its anti-ad stance.

Payday loans are the only product I know that are more expensive online than offline. There are a couple of reasons for this and Google is an important one.

Not long ago when you searched for "payday loan," as much as half of the sponsored results were either not lenders at all or they were lawless offshore lenders. Consequently, the customer acquisition costs for regulated, licensed payday lenders, or their more progressive brethren like LendUp or Zest, went through the roof. Think about it. How can you not charge three-digit APRs if it costs $100 to $150 just to acquire the customer?

Google's move is both important and in line with its promise to "do no harm," and the tech giant should be applauded for taking this step. Given its effective monopoly on Internet search, bidding up payday-related keywords is making a bad product worse. And indeed, while payday loans clearly fill a need for the millions who consume them, they are typically poorly structured and wildly expensive. The negative impacts of payday loans have been documented at length. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.