Under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 most businesses that provide goods and services on credit or for hire, lend money or provide debt collecting, debt counselling or debt adjusting services to consumers need to have a credit licence.
Trading in credit activities without a credit licence is a criminal offence, for more information see penalties and requirements.
The OFT has published guidance which sets out how and when it can use its new power to suspend consumer credit licences (pdf 454kb).
The regulation of consumer credit will transfer from the OFT to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on 1 April 2014. This is part of the Government's programme of regulatory changes for financial services.
That means from September 2013 you will need to register with the FCA, or you will not be able to carry on regulated consumer credit activities from 1 April 2014.
To find out more, see Consumer credit changes.
As part of a fair and proportionate transfer of consumer credit regulation, the government, having consulted the OFT and FCA, has decided that there will be a programme of rebates to consumer credit licence holders to reflect the closure of the OFT regime at 31 March 2014.
Most OFT licensees will receive an email from the FCA about the scheme in the coming weeks. Where the FCA does not hold an email address for a firm, it will write to the firm in the New Year. The first cheques will be issued by the end of this year. The FCA will be responsible for calculating the precise rebate due to individual firms.
Find out more on the FCA website (Rebates for consumer credit licence holders).
I don't have a credit licence and I want to: