AFR, others laud Google decision to ban payday loan search ads

To its considerable credit, Google has decided to stop running search ads for debt trap payday loans.

What does that mean? Google will not accept search ads that send people either directly or indirectly to payday lenders. As a result of this change, when people type in searches like “I need money for food” or “I need money for rent,” they will no longer see the slick advertising and aggressive marketing of these abusive short-term, high-interest payday loans.

This decision closes off an important avenue of customer recruitment for an industry that is doing more and more of its business online. Payday loans, whether made through physical or virtual storefronts, are engineered to suck people into long-term triple-digit-interest debt.

Google’s announcement, which follows a similar policy statement by Facebook last year, reflects a growing national consensus on the inherently destructive nature of a loan product engineered to compound the financial problems it purports to solve.

Google crafted its new policy in consultation with major civil rights and consumer advocacy organizations, including Americans for Financial Reform, Center for Responsible Lending, Common Sense Kids Action, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, National Hispanic Media Coalition, OpenMIC,, Georgetown’s Center on Privacy & Technology, and Upturn.

Check out this helpful explainer for more details.