Advertising control. Information from the first quarter of 2020


The Banco de España's functions include controlling the advertising of the banking and payment services offered by banks and other supervised institutions to check compliance with regulations. Thus, advertisements that are not in line with regulations must be rectified or withdrawn to prevent the target audience from making undesirable decisions.

In order to better control advertising, a technological tool allows access to a greater number of items of advertising broadcast through a wider variety of media. This tool has brought about a clear improvement in terms of efficiency in the control and supervision of the advertising activity of banking and payment services, as it facilitates the early detection of possible non-compliance, notably reducing exposure times of the target audience to items of advertising that are not in line with the regulations and, therefore, the potential impact that this unlawful advertising could have on their decision-making process. Also, this tool permits ad hoc searches, using pre-established indicators that facilitate direct control of non-compliant items.

In the first quarter of 2020, more than 800 items of advertising were reviewed, including the websites of supervised institutions, and 81 requirements were sent to institutions for non-compliance with the general principles and criteria set out in the regulationsAbre en ventana nueva, affecting the following products:

 Mortage loans 48
 Personal loans 9
 Cards 9
 Accounts 6
 Vehicle financing 4
 Consumer finance 3
 Deposits 2

The most common reasons for requirements in this quarter are:

  • Errors in the advertising of the annual percentage rate (APR), in accordance with Law 5/2019 on real estate loan agreements.
  • Omission of important data on banking products and services that may mislead their target audience (Article 4(2) of Order 1718/2010 on regulation and control of advertising for banking services and products).
  • Non-compliance with Article 4(1) of Order 1718/2010: advertising subject to this Order must be clear, sufficient, objective and not misleading, and the advertising nature of the message must be explicit and obvious.
  • The APR in offers of interest-free financing in which fees or other costs must be paid has not been advertised with sufficient importance (Principle p) under the Annex to Banco de España Circular 6/2010 to credit and payment institutions on the advertising of banking services and products.
  • The advertising does not correctly state the term of the campaign (General Principle d) under Banco de España Circular 6/2010.

The items of advertising for which requirements were sent were disseminated mainly through the institutions' websites but also through television, print media and brochures. Among others, the main means of dissemination of advertising that are subject to review are:

 Outdoor signage
 Mobile telephone (SMS)
 Social networks
 Print media
 Street furniture (billboards, bus shelters, etc.)
 Branch advertising (stickers, brochures, leaflets, ATMs, etc.)

The institutions proceeded to rectify (63%) or cease (37%) all the items of advertising subject to requirement within the period granted for this purpose.

The Banco de España is committed to ensuring that advertising information on banking and payment services is clear, sufficient and objective, and that citizens can compare and choose the product best suited to their needs.

In order to improve this information, a new circular is at an advanced stage of preparation, the main objective of which is to adapt the regulations to developments in the advertising sector stemming from the impact of digital technology and also to strengthen the internal control requirements applicable to institutions, with a view to ensuring more effective supervision of compliance.

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