Google Play cracks down on predatory personal loan apps in India
Although Google has a strict set of guidelines for personal loan apps on the Play Store, the app store is chock full of shady money lending apps that prey on unwitting users. Most of these apps not only violate local lending laws, but they also go to extreme lengths to recover their money. In response to a string of reports from both users and government agencies, Google has now finally taken down some offending apps from the Play Store in India.
According to a recent blog post from the company, the Google Play Developer Policy requires personal loan apps to clearly disclose key information such as the minimum and maximum periods of repayment, the maximum Annual Percentage Rate, and a representative example of the total loan costs. However, quite a few personal loan apps on the Play Store aren’t transparent about this information. On top of that, some offending apps provide misleading information in an attempt to trap users in absurd loan agreements.
Based on the aforementioned reports, Google has identified several apps that violate its user safety policies, local laws, and regulations. The company has already taken down apps that violate its policies, and it has notified the developers of the remaining apps to “demonstrate that they comply with applicable local laws and regulations.” In case the developers fail to do so, their apps will be removed from the Play Store without any further notice.
While Google hasn’t named any of the offending apps, a report from TechCrunch mentions apps like 10MinuteLoan and Ex-Money. These apps offer small-ticket loans for short tenures and charge absurdly high processing fees. If borrowers cannot repay their debt in the stipulated time, collection agents from such apps harass them until the amount is repaid. To prevent such predatory tactics, Google has now said that the Play Store will only host apps that give borrowers at least 60 days of time to repay their loans.