Until April 1 2014, firms and individuals wishing to carry out consumer credit business in the UK needed to hold a Consumer Credit Licence. But, on this date, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) took over as regulator of consumer credit, and the old Consumer Credit Licence regime no longer applies.
Firms who held Consumer Credit Licences have been able to transfer to the FCA regime under a scheme known as limited permission. If you hold limited permission, you should have been informed of the three-month period in which you must apply to the FCA to upgrade to full authorisation or limited permission. If your firm misses its allocated three-month period, you will lose your authorisation. Afterwards, you need to complete a series of FCA compliance training to keep your licence and remain updated.
If you wish to obtain credit authorisation for the first time, you need to submit an application to the FCA. Whether it is a new application or an application to upgrade from limited permission, the FCA will ask you to provide a range of financial and non-financial information.
FCA authorisation applies for an indefinite period, so there is no need to renew this authorisation, as was sometimes the case with Consumer Credit Licences. However, all authorised firms will need to pay annual fees to the regulator in order to remain authorised.