On January 14th, Google India reported that personal loan applications had been “immediately removed” from the Play Store for breaching its consumer safety policies. In a blog post, the company reported that it checked hundreds of personal loan apps around the country based on consumer and government agency flags.
“We have reviewed hundreds of personal loan apps in India, based on flags submitted by users and government agencies,” Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy said in the post.
According to a Reuters report, at least ten lending applications on the Google Play Store violated Google’s loan repayment length guidelines, which are intended to protect vulnerable borrowers. It was also discovered that some of the lending apps disobeyed central bank regulations intended to protect borrowers.
The developers of the remaining listed apps have been asked to demonstrate that they comply with relevant local laws and regulations, failing which they will be excluded from the Google Play Store. The names of the applications that were removed were not revealed by Google.
“We have reviewed hundreds of personal loan apps in India, based on flags submitted by users and government agencies. The apps that were found to violate our user safety policies were immediately removed from the store, and we have asked the developers of the remaining identified apps to demonstrate that they comply with applicable local laws and regulations,” the blogpost said.
To ensure that users are making informed decisions, Google only allows personal loan apps that require complete repayment within 60 days of the loan’s issuance, according to the company.
Developers can only request permissions that are required to implement current features or services, according to Google, and should not use permissions that grant access to user or system data for undisclosed, unimplemented, or prohibited features or purposes.
Developers must also only use data for purposes that the user has consented to, and if they choose to use the data for other purposes later, they must first get the user’s permission, Google said.
A working group was organized by the central bank to investigate digital lending practices. The panel has been tasked with identifying the threats that unregulated digital lending poses to financial stability, controlled institutions, and consumers, and it is due to submit its report in three months.
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