Conducting marketing activities for a company with banking and financial services in Poland can be like wandering around in a fog. Especially when you are not aware of the many complexities of Polish law. It is enough to use too small a font on a graphic to infringe one of the iron rules of advertising in this industry.
Do you want to conquer the Polish market with your financial products, but you want everything to be fully legal? Here is a short guide to the most important rules of promoting banking and financial services in Poland!
Table of contents:
- Regulations governing marketing activities in the financial and banking industry
- Basic rules of advertising
- The most common mistakes
- Advertising services on the Internet
1. Regulations governing marketing activities in the financial and banking sector in Poland
Marketing for the financial and banking industry in Poland is a huge challenge. Not only do you have to know all the current rules, but you also have to keep up to date with any changes in the law. What is more, if you want to advertise on the Internet, each platform also has its own rules and regulations that need to be followed. Not all financial services can be promoted online. It is worth knowing this before you plan your advertising budget.
Basically, all advertising should be honest and not mislead the potential customer – which goes without saying. If it violates this rule, the company will be liable before the appropriate supervisory authority. In Poland this is the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKIK). Moreover, in the case of the financial industry, both the president of the National Bank of Poland and the Banking Supervision Commission may also order the cessation of advertising that they deem inappropriate.
So where to look for the current rules? They result from both internationally recognised practices, recommendations of the Financial Supervision Authority and the law. So if you have any doubts, it is always worth looking for the answers at the source.
These are primarily:
- Recommendations of the Polish Financial Supervision Authority as to how banks advertise their services,
- Banking Act of 29 August 1997 (specifies which entities may use the name “bank” in advertisements).
- The Payment Services Act of 19 August 2011 (defines the scope of entities that may carry out payment service activities).
- Law on Investment Funds of 27 May 2004 (defines the scope of entities that may carry out activities in the field of investment services)
- Consumer Credit Act of 12 May 2011.
- Other legal acts.
2. Basic rules of advertising
Now that we have discussed the sources of knowledge about legal promotion in Poland, it is time to discuss the most important rules that arise from the law.
Fully legal advertising of banking and financial services in Poland:
- Is not misleading, nor likely to mislead.
- Does not refer to false data.
- Does not suggest that the advertised service is more beneficial than it actually is.
- It contains information on the existence of risk factors.
- If it refers to special offers and promotions, it clearly states when they expire.
- It is worded in a way that is simple enough for the average consumer to understand.
- Allows the reader to easily understand all elements of the advertisement.
- Indicates the existence of any charges or commissions.
- Does not create a negative image of other companies operating in that market.
- It should contain information about the nominal annual interest rate on accumulated funds (in the case of bank accounts).
- It should contain information on the total amount of the credit, the interest rate, the annual percentage rate of charge, the total amount payable, the amount of the instalments and the duration of the contract (in the case of credit or loans).
If, as a result of the proceedings, it turns out that the company violated consumer interests, it may receive a financial penalty of up to 10% of the last year’s revenue. It is not worth the risk.
3. The most common mistakes marketers make
What are the common mistakes made by companies offering financial and banking services in Poland?
Several of these definitely prevail:
- Too short display time of some information – data such as interest rate or total amount payable should be displayed in proportion to the length of the entire advertisement.
- Too small font (in the case of various types of ads).
- Font too light or subtitles placed in an invisible place.
- No information about the fact that a given promotion or offer applies only to selected customers.
- Implying that a particular service or product is a special occasion.
4. Advertising services on the Internet
The first part is over. That, however, was the rules on advertising services arising solely from Polish law. So what about social media – advertising platforms that are separate, private companies that have their headquarters outside Poland? Well… here, marketers have another staircase to climb, and more regulations to read before going to bed in the evening.
In social media in Poland it is possible to advertise almost all financial products and services – regardless of the chosen platform or type of advertisement. However, on all platforms it is not allowed to advertise: short-term loans (with a repayment period shorter than 90 days), cryptocurrencies and P2P loans.
How does this look on the different platforms?
This is the safest place in Poland for credible companies in this sector to promote themselves. It’s worth being here, because Facebook is still the dominant platform when it comes to the number of users in Poland. Moreover, it is used by people of all ages – including the elderly, who cannot be found on Instagram, Twitter or YouTube. However, advertisements cannot be targeted at minors. Promoting property guarantees, consolidation or refinancing of student loans is also out of the question here.
In terms of advertising financial and banking services, YouTube is the most demanding – even stricter than Polish law. To be able to advertise there, a company must provide absolutely all information about the product being promoted.
Twitter largely hands the decision over to local laws. Advertising banking and financial services on Twitter in the United States, Indonesia or Poland is quite different. In our country, it is permissible to market most products, including loans (including mortgages), investment advice, insurance, currency exchange and even debt relief services. Although not a particularly popular or well-liked platform in Poland, this is where most of the online “debates” on political or social issues take place.
Verified banks and companies offering financial services can conduct profile activity and invest in advertising their products. The terms and conditions are quite vague on the restrictions arising from the promotion of consumer loans, for example, but are firm on cryptocurrencies. It is worth being here, as LinkedIn in Poland is considered a platform aimed at professionals, who may constitute a large percentage of the target group for companies in this sector.
Promoting banking and financial products in Poland is a huge challenge for marketers. If you want to enter this market, you have to adapt to the prevailing law. However, when it comes to the internal regulations of individual online platforms, things get even more complicated. Looking for a company that can help you advertise your company and its products in a completely legal way? Contact us! We are an experienced Polish advertising agency that has been helping foreign entrepreneurs in your industry reach their ideal customers for years.