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Kids Action Applauds Google for Banning Payday Lending Ads

Payday loans lock low-income families into a never ending cycle of debt.

Common Sense Kids Action and a coalition of partners has been raising concerns about the impact that high-interest payday lending has on children in low-income families, locking them into spiraling debt payments that come at the cost of children's critical needs.

Today, we applaud the decision by Google to ban payday loan advertisements, a move they made after discussing the issue with Kids Action and our partners.

Payday lending hurts families. And one way payday lenders locate vulnerable families is through online advertisements. Though payday lending is illegal or restricted in many states, and solicitations for payday loans are even sometimes restricted, payday loan ads are common and lucrative. As detailed in a report by Upturn, online ads can be the first step in lenders' targeting of low-income and other struggling individuals, trapping them in further cycles of debt.

Parents are often victimized by payday loans. Adults with children take out payday loans at higher rates than the overall population. And children can suffer the devastating consequences, when parents are forced to prioritize crushing loan payments over child support.

Recognizing the harmful effects of payday loans, companies have begun to step up. Facebook adopted a policy of banning payday loans last summer. And today, Google is not only banning payday loan ads in the United States but also announced it is strengthening disclosure requirements and restricting certain types of loan ads on a global basis. Lenders disclosing terms—the nitty-gritty details of what is expected when you borrow—is very important, because more informed borrowers can make better choices.

Today's announcement is due in large part to the work of a wonderful coalition that Common Sense Kids Action is proud to be a part of. The coalition includes financial experts, technical experts, and civil rights leaders, all of whom agree that payday lending hurts consumers. We're pleased that companies are beginning to agree as well, and we hope to see other large advertisers join Google and Facebook to this end.

To learn more and to support our work on behalf of America's kids, join the movement: Become an advocate today.

Ariel Fox Johnson
Ariel Fox Johnson is Senior Counsel for Global Policy at Common Sense Media, where she advocates for smart practices, policies, and rules to help all kids thrive in today’s wired world. Her work focuses on enhancing family privacy rights, strengthening students' educational privacy, and promoting robust consumer protections in the online world. She frequently advises policymakers, industry, and tech experts, and has helped develop laws on student privacy, consumer privacy, and the Internet of Things. Ariel is a graduate of Harvard College and Law School. Prior to joining Common Sense, Ariel worked on privacy, media, intellectual property, and technology matters at corporate law firms, and provided pro bono assistance to nonprofits and asylum seekers.