By 31 May, Google to Prohibit Personal Loan Apps

In an effort to combat the rise of predatory lending practises from some lenders that harass borrowers, Google plans to restrict apps that offer loans to individuals from accessing private user information such as images, videos, and contacts.

On Wednesday, the search engine giant updated its Personal Loans policy for Play Store apps, imposing new limitations that prevent apps from accessing external storage, images, videos, contacts, the exact location, and call records. The modification will take effect from May 31.

According to the company’s update, “Apps that provide personal loans or have the primary goal of facilitating access to personal loans (i.e., lead generators or facilitators) are forbidden from accessing sensitive data, such as images and contacts.

According to recent reports, a developing trend has caused alarm since some people who have obtained loans through mobile apps have been subjected to debt collection harassment. These debt collectors allegedly gained access to the borrowers’ personal contacts and informed loved ones of unpaid obligations. Agents have used modified photographs in more severe instances to further intimidate and torment persons who owe money. Tragically, a number of those who were targeted have given in to the pressure and committed suicide.

Such occurrences were extensively covered in markets like Kenya and India. After being notified by law police and central banks, Google originally reacted by removing thousands of personal loan apps from the Play Store. The business also put regulations in place to prevent unregistered loan apps from appearing in the Android app store.

Google said it has also imposed the necessity of filling out additional licencing procedures for apps appearing on the Play Store offering personal loans in Pakistan to “prove their ability to provide or facilitate” credit. The business has made it essential for non-banking financial companies in the country to have only a single digital lending app on the Play Store.

Google warned that developers who attempted to publish more than one DLA per NBFC ran the danger of having their developer accounts and any related accounts terminated.

The creator of Android has already come under fire for failing to take decisive action against unscrupulous loan apps. In response, the corporation updated its policies in a number of markets, including the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Kenya.

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