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Licence - Credit

If a business offers credit or lends money to consumers, or allows customers time to pay for goods and services it must be licensed with the Consumer Credit Licensing Bureau of the Office of Fair Trading under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

The following types of business must be licensed with the Office of Fair Trading:

  • consumer credit
  • consumer hire
  • debit adjusting and debt counselling
  • debt collecting
  • credit reference agencies
  • canvassing credit off trade premises


The Office of Fair Trading holds a public record of all licensed traders and of all those who have applied for a licence. They can provide details to the public about its licensed businesses, such as the type of activities they cover, their authorised trading names and main business address.

In December 2003, the government proposed changes to the consumer credit market - these include strengthening credit licence rules, giving the Office of Fair Trading the power to fine moneylenders and make surprise raids on debt companies, and making small print bigger on adverts for financial products.