Google has entered the UK’s multi-million-pound comparison market after launching a trial service letting consumers compare credit cards.
The service, which went live this week, appears as the top sponsored result on searches associated with credit cards. This leads to a dedicated, Google-branded comparison page.
It positions Google directly against high-profile comparison brands including Moneysupermarket and Confused.com, although Google wouldn’t confirm whether it would extend the format to other vertical sectors, such as mortgages.
Users can compare credit card rates from lenders including Barclaycard, American Express and MBNA under variables including interest rates, balance transfers and annual fees.
The launch is a major expansion from Merchant Search, a previous bid by Google to enter the UK comparison market in which it trialled secured loans comparison in 2008.
Merchant Search only appeared for searches that included ’secured loans’ whereas the new service, called Comparison Ads, will appear for a much wider range of keywords.
It’s free for lenders to appear, paying Google a fee only when someone clicks to apply.
Ian Morgan, industry head at Google, said, “We constantly look for ways to help people find what they’re looking for on the internet. We hope this new ad unit will help users easily find and compare credit card offers without the need to reveal personal information, while providing advertisers with a sophisticated and flexible cost-per-lead model.”
Ian Williams, Moneysupermarket’s director of communications, played down the move. “For us, paid search for credit cards is a small part of our business so we don’t see this trial having a big impact on us,” he said.
This story first appeared on newmediaage.co.uk