Introduction to Consumer Credit Law
Consumer credit law is a key element of the financial landscape in Switzerland. It aims to protect consumers when they take out credit and to ensure healthy competition between lenders. In this article, we offer you a complete guide to the law on consumer credit in Swiss. This, including its main provisions, the rights of borrowers and the obligations of lenders. Find out everything you need to know before taking out a private loan in complete safety and under the best possible conditions.
- Basics of consumer credit law
- Obligations of lenders under the consumer credit law
- The rights of borrowers under consumer credit law
- The private credit broker and consumer credit law
- Advertising and Consumer Credit Law
- Sanctions for non-compliance with the law
- Advice for borrowers before taking out a loan
- Our conclusion on consumer credit law
Basics of consumer credit law
The law on consumer credit in Switzerland (LCC) was put in place to regulate the consumer credit market and protect consumers. This law regulates in particular the loan conditions, interest rates, repayment terms and advertising around the credits.
The Consumer Credit Act applies to loans made by financial institutions or private lenders to individuals. This for the purpose of finance goods or services for private use. It concerns consumer credit, leasing and pawnbroking. However, it does not apply to mortgages or business loans.
Interest rate ceiling
The Consumer Credit Act provides for a ceiling on interest rates for consumer credit. This ceiling is set by the Federal Council and may vary depending on economic and market conditions. For more information on private credit interest rates, you can consult the following article. Increase in interest rates on consumer loans in Switzerland!
Obligations of lenders under the consumer credit law
The consumer credit law imposes a number of obligations on lenders. This is to protect borrowers and ensure a transparent and fair credit market.
Before concluding a consumer credit agreement, the lender must provide the borrower with clear and understandable information on the main credit characteristics. This includes specifying the amount, duration, interest rate, fees and repayment terms.
The lender has the obligation to check the creditworthiness of the borrower before granting consumer credit. This check should include revenue analysis, expenses and possible debts of the borrower. In addition, a consultation of the credit information center (ZEK) to check whether the borrower has already contracted other credits is also part of the lender's obligations.
Refusal of credit in the event of over-indebtedness
If the credit check reveals that the borrower is in over-indebtedness or presents a high risk of not being able to repay the credit, the lender must refuse to grant the consumer credit. This measure aims to protect the borrower against excessive indebtedness and to prevent situations of over-indebtedness.
Documentation and transparency
The lender must provide the borrower with a written credit agreement. This must detail all the relevant information concerning private credit. Such as the amount borrowed, the duration of the credit, the interest rate, the repayment deadlines and the associated costs. The contract must be written in a clear and understandable manner. This is to comply with the provisions of the consumer credit law.
The rights of borrowers under consumer credit law
The consumer credit law also guarantees a number of rights to borrowers. The aim being to ensure their protection and allow them to contract a credit in the best conditions possible.
Right to retract
The borrower has a right to retract which allows him to waive consumer credit within 14 calendar days. This right runs from the date of conclusion of the contract. This, without having to justify its decision or pay penalties. To exercise this right, the borrower must inform the lender in writing before the expiry of the withdrawal period. He must make his request by letter, e-mail or fax.
The borrower has the right to refund all or part of his consumer credit in advance. This, at any time and without penalties. In this case, the lender must recalculate the amount of interest taking into account the prepayment. He will then adjust the outstanding balance accordingly.
Protection in the event of door-to-door sales
Concluding consumer credit through door-to-door canvassing is prohibited. In this case, the borrower has a withdrawal period of 14 calendar days to renounce the credit without having to justify his decision or pay penalties.
The private credit broker
Broker fees and billing
Under no circumstances should the consumer pay compensation or fees to the broker who allowed him to take out credit. The broker's fees are fully covered by a commission that the lender pays to the broker. This of course following the conclusion of a private credit agreement with the client.
Authorization to exercise the profession of credit broker
Brokers wishing to practice the profession must obtain an authorization issued by the canton of residence of the latter. This authorization is granted on the condition that the broker can meet the following criteria:
- he must enjoy a good reputation and present all the guarantees of an irreproachable activity;
- the broker not to have suffered, during the five years preceding the application for authorization, any criminal conviction relating to the activity subject to authorization;
- the managers do not see any act of default of property against them;
- they must also have three years of experience in the field of financial services;
- the broker must also have security up to CHF 10,000.- to guarantee the damage that could result from this activity.
If all the above criteria are met, then the credit broker can obtain an authorization to exercise the profession which will be issued by the canton. Please note that this authorization must be renewed every 5 years.
How to choose my private credit broker?
To choose correctly your private credit broker, be sure to check the following:
- Does my broker have a good reputation? To verify this information, all you need to do is check the reviews that consumers have given to the broker of your choice. You can for example check your google profile. It is also possible to check what is said about him on Facebook Or LinkedIn. Generally speaking, if you find bad reviews there or no information is available, it might be better to check the qualifications of your interlocutor in more detail by simply asking them a few questions.
- Is my broker licensed to operate? As a consumer, do not hesitate to ask him the question. If necessary, you can also ask for proof. As explained above, if your broker is authorized to exercise his activity, he will be able to present his cantonal authorization to you.
What customers say about Lica:
Advertising and Consumer Credit Law
The consumer credit law also regulates consumer credit advertising. This is to prevent misleading practices and to ensure healthy and fair competition between lenders.
Prohibition of misleading advertising
The law prohibits any consumer credit advertising that is misleading or misleading consumers. For example, it is forbidden to present unrealistic or unrealistic interest rates or credit conditions.
Ads for consumer credit must mention clearly and legibly certain mandatory information. The effective interest rate, the costs associated with the credit and the repayment conditions must be specified. This obligation is intended to ensure transparency and enable consumers to compare credit offers in an enlightened way.
Supervision of promotional offers
Promotional offers for consumer loans, such as reduced interest rates or gifts, must follow certain rules. They must not encourage consumers to take out credit irresponsibly. For example, promotional offers must be clearly delimited in time. They must also not be conditional on the subscription of other products or services.
Sanctions for non-compliance with consumer credit law
The Consumer Credit Act provides penalties for failure by lenders to comply with its provisions. These sanctions make it possible to guarantee respect for consumer rights and the application of the rules governing the credit market.
Fines and administrative sanctions
Lenders who do not comply with consumer credit law obligations, such as pre-contractual information, credit checks or interest rate cap, may be subject to fines and administrative sanctions. These sanctions may include the suspension or withdrawal of the authorization to exercise the activity of lender.
Liability of lenders
Lenders can also be held liable for damages caused to borrowers for failure to comply with consumer credit law. For example, if a lender extends credit to a borrower in a situation of over-indebtedness, he may be required to pay damages to compensate for the damage suffered by the borrower.
Advice for borrowers before taking out a private loan
Before taking out consumer credit, it is important to do your homework. Here are some tips to help you navigate the consumer credit landscape:
Assess your needs and repayment capacity
Before taking out a consumer loan, carefully assess your real needs and your ability to repay the loan. This, taking into account your income, your expenses and your possible debts. If you are unsure of your budget, get free help from an advisor from Lica.
Compare credit offers by contacting a recognized broker!
Take the time to ask the services of a private credit intermediary. He will be able to compare the consumer credit offers offered by different lenders. It will take into account interest rates, fees and repayment terms. In addition, a private credit professional may also maximize your chances of obtaining private credit at the best market conditions. His expertise and knowledge will be invaluable in properly preparing your loan application file.
Read the loan agreement carefully
Before signing a consumer credit contract, carefully read the terms and conditions of the contract, making sure to fully understand the information regarding the amount borrowed, the duration of the credit, the interest rate and the repayment terms. If you have any questions or doubts, do not hesitate to ask your private credit intermediary for explanations.
Keep in mind your right of withdrawal
Remember that you have a period of 14 calendar days to exercise your right of withdrawal after signing the consumer credit agreement. This, without having to justify your decision or pay penalties. If you change your mind, do not hesitate to exercise this right to protect your interests.
Plan the repayment of your private credit
Once you have taken out your consumer credit, it will be important to plan the repayment of it. Make sure you can meet the repayment deadlines. In case of financial difficulties, do not hesitate to contact your broker to discuss reimbursement solutions.
Consumer Credit Law – Our Conclusion
The consumer credit law is an essential mechanism for protecting consumers and guaranteeing a fair and transparent credit market in Switzerland. As a borrower, it is important to know your rights and the obligations of lenders. You can thus contract consumer credit safely and in the best possible conditions. Also feel free to seek advice from a private credit broker reputable before committing. Moreover, you can consult this complete guide to consumer credit law at any time to ensure that you comply with the rules in force.
Do you have questions before applying for private credit? Our advisors are there to answer your questions 7 days a week directly on WhatsApp. Ask us for more information and we will be happy to answer you!