In order to offer credit to customers you need to be authorised by the FCA. If you currently hold an interim permission then you should have received a letter from the FCA outlining your date period for submitting your application. Applications need to be submitted using the FCA’s online system CONNECT. If you don’t apply within your allocated application period then your interim permission will lapse and you will no longer be able to offer credit.
The FCA will be looking for evidence that your business can meets its requirements, and, in particular, how you put the customer at the heart of your business. It’s very important that you pay particular attention to the FCA’s Principles writing your regulatory business plan – here’s a link to the FCA’s General Principles.
Approval decisions are expected to be made within six months of receiving a complete application and business plan, although it may take up to 12 months if applications are incomplete or incorrect.
Do you need Limited or Full Permission?
On initial reading of the FCA’s guidelines it appears as though retailers only need limited permission, but this isn’t always the case. If you’re offering credit during a sales appointment in the customer’s home, which most of our clients do, then you need full permission.
Online retailers only need limited permission.
Tackling the application form
At first glance the FCA application form can seem a little intimidating, but don’t be put off. Yes it’s lengthy, but you should already have most of the information needed. For example, descriptions of your company and its products are most likely on your website or in a brochure; while your accountant will be able to provide the financial data. And if you need help describing the credit options, we can help.
You’ll also need to know your old OFT licence number, company registration details and evidence that you’ve paid your application fee. Application fees will vary from one business to another.
Read the Guidance Notes
The FCA have created a series of guidance documents which you can find on its website http://fca.org.uk/firms/firm-types/consumer-credit/authorisation. We’ve also produced our own FREE Business Planning Guide to help you.
Your Next Steps…
1) Know your application date period. Put a reminder in the diary & also let your CCS Business Development Manager know.
2) Start preparing your regulatory business plan. It’s never too soon to get started, request a copy of our FREE Business Planning Guide (please note this is only available to CCS clients and is specific to the Home Improvement Consumer Finance Sector).
3) Complete & submit your online application within your designated application period. And if you need any advice, then
your CCS Business Development Manager is happy to help.
If you need help or further advice, please call Colin Macpherson on 0845 120 6666