Applying for or renewing your Consumer Credit Licence
How can Credit Competence help with the licensing process?
We can provide assistance for your consumer credit licence application as well as guidance with your Credit Competence Form (CCF).
Unlike other companies we don't just provide you with a Credit Competence Form. The CCF is a summary of how you are going to do business and therefore you need to be able to support his approach through the procedures and processes which you will operate. That's why we create relevant policies to make sure you have everything in place to comply with the OFT's requirements.
We will then deliver training to ensure that you are fully aware of everything along with reviewing your marketing material and website content.
We are able to offer this on a "no licence no fee" basis which means that if your consumer credit licence is not granted we do not make any charge for our service. This enables you to manage cashflow which is vitally important at a time when it can take 6-12 months for a licence to be granted. Discover what our clients say on our Testimonials page.
If you're not sure whether you need a consumer credit licence read the OFT's guide "Do you need a credit licence?"
You can now apply for or renew your licence online. Follow the link below to go directly to the Office of Fair Trading's online process.
If you require high-risk categories on your licence, you may need to complete the Credit Competence Form.
How much does it cost to obtain a licence?
However, currently the fee structure works as follows:
You are required to pay an application fee to the OFT which is now £530 for sole-traders and partnerships. If you are a limited company the fee is £1326.
In addition to this, you will be required to pay a fee of £140 towards the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) levy. This additional payment is because consumer credit licence holders fall within the consumer credit jurisdiction of the FOS for complaints-handling.
How long does a licence last?
Previously, consumer credit licences were issued for a fixed period of 5 years, after which you were required to renew your licence. Following changes to the Consumer Credit Act, the OFT can issue a licence for an indefinite period. If you are granted an indefinite licence it means that you won't need to renew it, instead you will be required to pay the FOS levy every 5 years, at the rate in force at that time.
Even if you are granted an indefinite licence, you still need to make sure that you carry out credit activities properly as the OFT has powers to revoke your licence or impose requirements if it is not satisified with your fitness.
However, please be aware that from April 2014 the Financial Conduct Authority (the FCA) will become responsible for consumer credit supervision and regulation. This will mean increased compliance standards and you will need to have robust arrangements in place for systems and controls. Credit Competence is best placed to help you adapt to this approach since much of our background is statutory regulation under the FSA regime (the FCA's predecessor).
How long does it take?
If your application does NOT include high risk categories then the OFT's standard is a minimum processing time of 25 business days, although this does change from time to time.
The OFT aims to resolve 75% of high risk applications within 90 business days. That's approximately 5 months.
Special Note for Debt Management licence applications
Be aware that if you are applying for the debt management categories (debt counselling and debt adjusting) then your licence is likely to take longer - be prepared for a 6-12 month wait. As a result of the Debt Management Compliance Review, the OFT is giving these applications additional scrutiny.
You should also take care when choosing domain names or trading names.
Names that are likely to cause problems and result in the OFT raising objections are those which suggest or imply that you are a charitable organisation, such as "helpline", or "foundation" and webdomains ending in ".org.uk" or ".org". Names that include phrases such as "free" or "debtfree" will probably also be considered misleading.
"Credit Competence is one of the most professional companies I have done business with in my 25 years in business. We had our licence and system in place within the agreed timescales all at cost quoted. Straight talking and explanation of how the processes work, 10/10.
I would strongly recommend this company for anyone who has compliance or system needs. I will have no hesitation to use the company again. Many thanks for all your help."
The Debt Hospital
Bernadette is absolutely fantastic; she completed my plan immediately - my consumer credit licence soon followed. I then thought I had to worry about all my terms and conditions, training and all other regulations - how wrong was I? Bernadette took care of them too. I was that impressed with all the work Bernadette did for me she is now administering my Ministry of Justice licence application.
I would recommend Credit Competence to everyone; they saved me time, effort and money and did a marvellous job.
"We became involved with Credit Competence for the purpose of helping us to obtain a consumer credit licence. We had already submitted our licence and then needed to complete a Credit Competence Plan. Our licence came through around 11 days after Bernadette had prepared the plan for us.
Bernadette provided full support and training throughout the process and we have always been able to 'phone for guidance whenever needed. In fact we have utilised Bernadette's services frequently since for areas such as monitoring, training for new staff, writing our web content and support with regulatory visits.
We are extremely happy with our relationship with Credit Competence and the support provided and have no hesitation in recommending them."