Ad description

A TV ad for 118 118 Money, a consumer credit provider, seen on 19 October 2018, featured a boxing match between two men in '118' vests on one side and an automated teller machine (ATM) on the other. One of the boxers said "Smash those nasty credit card cash withdrawal charges, 118!" before the other boxer knocked the ATM to the ground and stated "Our new credit card won't charge you to take cash out, 118." Superimposed text at the bottom of the screen read "Cash machine operators may still charge for cash withdrawals". In the final scene, a woman held up a placard that read "NO CASH WITHDRAWAL CHARGES".


The complainant challenged whether the ad breached the Code because it did not feature the credit card's representative Annual Percentage Rate (RAPR).


Madison CF UK Ltd t/a 118 118 Money said that their understanding of the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) Consumer Credit Sourcebook (CONC) was that it was only necessary to provide an RAPR in the superimposed text of an ad if it contained an incentive to apply for credit or enter into a credit agreement. They believed the focus of the ad – the fact that the card did not charge consumers for ATM withdrawals – was a feature of the card rather than a special offer, discount, or reward and that it was not therefore necessary to include the RAPR.

Clearcast said that they had received a signed document from 118 118 Money confirming that there had been no legal obligation on them under CONC to display an RAPR. Clearcast said that they relied on advertisers to seek legal views on compliance and cleared ads on that basis.



The BCAP Code stated that advertising of unsecured consumer credit must comply with the rules set out in chapter 3 of the FCA’s CONC sourcebook. The ASA understood that CONC rule 3.5.7R(1) specifically stated that an ad must include an RAPR if it featured, among other elements, an incentive to apply for credit or a favourable comparison to the credit.

We considered that it was commonly known that credit card providers would charge fees for withdrawals from ATMs, and that those withdrawals often attracted a higher rate of interest than other credit purchases. Regardless of whether an offer of zero ATM cash withdrawal fees was an established feature of 118 118 Money’s service, it was the sole focus of the ad and therefore likely to be something that viewers would regard as an incentive to apply for credit, and as a favourable comparison with other credit providers who did not offer that benefit. Consequently, the ad was required to include an RAPR, which needed to be given no less prominence than the information that triggered the requirement for its inclusion.

Because the ad focused solely on the credit card’s zero ATM cash withdrawal fees feature, which we considered to be both an incentive to consumers to enter into a credit agreement, and a favourable comparison against other providers, we concluded that it breached the Code by not displaying an RAPR as prominently as that incentive/favourable comparison.

The ad breached BCAP Code rule  14.11 14.11 The advertising of unsecured consumer credit or hire services by consumer credit businesses or consumer hire businesses and / or credit brokering  businesses or related credit services, such as debt counselling or debt adjusting is acceptable only if the advertiser complies with the financial promotions requirements imposed by FSMA and the FCA's rules set out in Chapter 3 of CONC..  The requirements for financial promotions set out in Chapter 3 of CONC do not apply: (a) where the credit is available only to a company or other body corporate (such as a limited liability partnership); (b) where a financial promotion is solely promoting credit agreements or consumer hire agreements or P2P lending agreements for the purposes of a customer's business; (c) to a financial promotion to the extent that it relates to qualifying credit or (d) it falls within the definition of an excluded communication as set out in the FCA's handbook. If the applicability or interpretation of these rules or provisions is in doubt, advertisers may contact the FCA. The FCA does not check financial promotions for compliance with the CONC rules before they are published. Such advertisements that involve distance marketing must also comply with the Financial Services (Distance Marketing) Regulations 2004 (as amended). Other distance-marketing financial advertisements are covered by the FCA Handbook.  (Lending and credit).


The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told Madison CF UK Ltd t/a 118 118 Money to ensure that future ads feature an RAPR where there is an incentive to apply for credit.


14.11     3.1     3.2    

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