The number of PPI complaints jumped by 40% in the second half of 2017, new figures reveal.

Data from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) shows that 1.55 million people complained to their bank about mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) in the second half of 2017 - the highest level in more than four years. This compares to 1.11 million in the first half of the year.

The rise, which was predicted, is likely due to a major advertising campaign which was launched in August last year by the regulator to warn of the 29 August 2019 deadline to reclaim mis-sold PPI.

The FCA says it has seen a "significant uplift" in traffic to its dedicated PPI site since the launch of its campaign, which features Arnold Schwarzenegger, but last week we warned not to follow the regulator's advice on its radio and poster adverts of simply searching "FCA PPI".

If you've been mis-sold PPI, the clock is now ticking. With a second recently launched advertising campaign about the deadline, it'll likely jam up the system, so act now. See our Reclaim PPI for Free guide for full help.

What is PPI and how do I reclaim?

PPI was an insurance policy sold when you got a loan, credit or store card, catalogue account, overdraft or car finance. It's designed to cover your loan or credit card repayments for a year in the event of an accident, sickness or, in some cases, unemployment.

In itself, it isn't a bad product. But it's been widely mis-sold and now, because of a ruling called Plevin, even just having had it means you're likely due some cash back.

The original mis-selling has left many paying thousands for potentially worthless cover – and you could even have had it without knowing (see our Mis-selling Checklist for full info).

Remember, you do NOT need to pay a company to reclaim PPI for you – see our Reclaim PPI for free guide for full help.

PPI remains the most complained about product

PPI continues to be the most complained about product, and is the main driver of a 13% increase in the overall number of complaints received by the FCA compared to the first half of 2017.

Excluding PPI, the number of complaints remained fairly steady at 2.21 million. Current accounts were the second most complained about product, receiving 509,047 complaints.

The total amount of redress paid in the second half of 2017 was £2.36 billion, almost 87% (£2.05 billion) of which was for PPI complaints. PPI complaints are also taking longer to resolve on average - 11% were closed after eight weeks, up from 5% in the first half of 2017.

Get your mis-sold PPI complaints in early

While the deadline for complaining to your lender about mis-sold PPI has been set for August 2019, more and more people are starting to complain, as the data published today shows.

This means a backlog of claims is likely to develop, so if you think you were mis-sold it's worth getting your claim in as soon as possible to beat the queues.

For information about claiming, see our PPI reclaim guide.