Google said Wednesday it will ban plugs for payday loans and related products from AdWords effective July 13. Advertisers pay for search terms that show up in Google searches.
Google said its goal was to protect web surfers from "deceptive or harmful financial products" and not apply to loans for mortgages, cars, college or lines of credit (credit cards).
David Graff, director of global product policy, points out that Google has a standing policy of weeding out "bad ads," which will now include payday loans.
He says Google disabled more than 780 million ads in 2015 alone for everything from counterfeiting to phishing, with financial service ads a particular focus of its "vigilance" given their impact.
Google will ban ads for loans that must be repaid in 60 days or less from the date of issue worldwide, and in the U.S., it is also banning ads for loans with an interest rate of 36% or higher.
“As a leading search engine and innovator, Google’s announced updated policy on financial services advertising is a major consumer coup. By removing ads that lure financially challenged consumers into long-term and costly debt traps, Google is displaying what corporate citizenship looks like," said Keith Corbett, executive VP of the Center for Responsible Lending and co-chair of Economic Security Task Force of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. "Our hope is that others will soon follow suit.”
"Payday lenders have long preyed on Latinos and other people of color," said Michael Scurato, VP for policy at the National Hispanic Media Coalition. "It is important to ensure that the Internet, which holds great promise for improving economic outcomes among these communities, not also be used as an agent of harm."