In the most recent attempt to phase payday lender ads from search results, both Google and Bing have decided to block ads for unlicensed lenders in California. Teaming up with California’s Department of Business Oversight, the search giants agreed to ban all ads by payday businesses who aren’t legally licensed to lend money. This is the latest in the saga of Operation Choke Point, a government effort to protect consumers from payday and other small-money lenders.
Taking the Fight Online
The Department of Business Oversight will remain in constant contact with representatives from Google and Bing for the foreseeable future. If an unlicensed payday lender is identified, a process will take place to diminish their presence online:
- The DBO will notify employees at the search engine companies once cease-and-desist orders have been finalized against the merchant.
- Both companies will remove any paid ads by that merchant from their search result pages, as well as any other ads on the internet.
- Information about unlicensed lenders may still be available on the internet, but any paid advertising space will be reclaimed by Google and Bing.
Additionally, this new agreement on payday lender ads accompanies a new initiative to diminish the organic online presence of those lenders, and provide consumers with information on recent law enforcement action taken against predatory lending companies.
Operation Choke Point: Still Controversial
The federal government’s effort to reduce banking opportunities for businesses it deems too high risk has been a hot-button issue in the payments industry. With the recent news about California teaming up with Google and Bing to take down payday lender ads, we find ourselves revisiting the issues Operation Choke Point presents.
While it’s a good idea in theory, as is the blocking of unlicensed payday lender ads, the operation has actually caused many legitimate high risk merchants to lose out on banking and payment processing opportunities. Because of this, many small businesses and banks have suffered. With more and more small-money lenders being stripped of opportunity, is Operation Choke Point really a success?
Instabill is a global merchant services provider based in the United States. For more than a decade, we’ve worked with merchants all over the world—both low risk and high risk—to deliver the credit card processing solutions they need. Through our dozens of domestic and offshore banking partnerships, we can provide fast, customizable merchant accounts for high risk businesses who are having trouble finding them on their own.
For more information on our merchant accounts, or to find out if your high risk business qualifies, contact a live representative today.