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AFM: attention, do not conclude a microloan with providers without a licence

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In recent weeks, the AFM has observed that not yet all providers of short-term credit observe the new regulations. A number of providers of so-called microloans offer credit, possibly without a licence, and charge very high rates in some cases.

These providers have since been informed that they have to comply with the licence requirements and the rules. If these requirements are not met, this may lead to AFM sanctions.

The AFM advises consumers to only purchase financial services from undertaking with the correct licence. Nor should consumers accept offers to borrow money against more than the maximum statutory lending rate (currently 16 percent per year). It can be checked in a very simple manner whether an undertaking has a licence at www.afm.nl/registers. If you have any questions, please contact the AFM Financial Markets Information Line at 0900 5400 540.

New regulations

The rules for consumer credit have changed since 1 June 2011. This means that credit with a term of less than three months will, from now on, also fall under the rules. These rules provide, inter alia, that no more than a maximum in interest and costs may be charged in respect of these forms of credit (currently 16% a year). From now on, undertakings that offer such a credit will require a licence for that purpose, except in the event that the fee they charge for such credit is immaterial, and therefore very low.

There are also parties that actively make money available to consumers, without stating explicitly that it concerns a credit. The AFM is of the opinion that, according to the law, all offers whereby money is made available and has to be paid back at a later moment fall under the definition of credit and can only be made with a licence. Only credit with a term of less than three months, whereby an immaterial fee is charged, can be offered without a licence.

Tips for consumers when concluding credit agreements

The AFM advises consumers to think carefully before concluding a credit agreement. Take enough time before choosing a loan. Never conclude a loan immediately after receiving the offer. Do not respond to offers from parties that do not hold an AFM licence. Most people take at least three days to consider.

The AFM promotes fairness and transparency within financial markets. We are the independent supervisory authority for the savings, lending, investment and insurance markets. The AFM promotes the conscientious provision of financial services to consumers and supervises the honest and efficient operation of the capital markets. Our aim is to improve consumers’ and the business sector’s confidence in the financial markets, both in the Netherlands and abroad. In performing this task the AFM contributes to the prosperity and economic reputation of the Netherlands.

The AFM is committed to promoting fair and transparent financial markets.

As an independent market conduct authority, we contribute to a sustainable financial system and prosperity in the Netherlands.

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