UK consumers will be able to take out loans and apply for credit cards online for the first time under a shake-up in consumer credit laws announced by Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt.
Up until now, people using online banks and building societies have had to sign contracts by hand and send them in by post. The government believes the new rules will help consumers to be more confident about choosing credit products online and make Internet shopping quicker and easier.
The move has been welcomed by online financial services firms.
Graham Hollebon, head of personal finance at More Th>n comments: "More Th>n already enables customers to apply on-line for its products, for example our credit card, although we are required by law to post the credit agreement back to the applicant requesting a final signature. The new Government proposals will enable us to speed up the application process and make life easier for people."