Business finance: do you believe in Father Christmas?

News Desk

It's the time of year when the cash-crunch sets in. Parties, gifts, even seasonal food all take their toll on budgets.

So what could be better than the easy - potentially free - money an e-mail from "VISA" offers?

Despite the UK's strict consumer credit laws and the fact that the control of credit has been the responsibility of the Financial Conduct Authority, email boxes are deluged with offers of cheap and/or free credit from what appear to be unregulated businesses.

One such screams "Boost cash flow this winter season, earn rewards and pay no interest
for 42 days GET A CREDIT LIMIT UP TO £250,000 With Capital on Tap's Business Credit Card.

Sure, it's phrased to avoid saying it's consumer credit. So, on the face of it, it's outside the regulatory regime insofar as it relates to consumers.

The first indicator that there is something dodgy is that the email says it is "From" VISA.

It isn't. It's from a marketing company using the name "WeRaiseAnyFinance" that says it's working in association with Capital On Tap. No contact information is provided for Capital On Tap, but an address is provided for the mailing company and a check at Companies House shows that there is, indeed, a company - We Raise Any Finance Limited" , the sole director of which is Colin Terence COWAP gives the address in the email as his residence. Mr Cowap recently launched "Legal Capital" saying it is "the future of litigation and growth funding. We provide bespoke financial solutions, allowing your firm to take on more cases and grow without the financial constraints of traditional lending."

Neither We Raise Any Finance limited or Colin Terence COWAP are registered with The Financial Conduct Authority.

If the idea of an interest-free loan of GBP25,000 to get you over the hump of Christmas and New Year is appealing, be careful.

It might all be above board. But in business nothing is free or easy, especially not these days and even more-so not when your business is under pressure and you really want to believe in Santa Claus.