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    Saturday, November 19, 2022

    Google Clamps Down On illegal Loan Apps in Kenya, Nigeria

    Google has released a new policy guideline mandating the disclosure of all relevant licencing documents by all loan apps on the Play Store.

    According the the Tech Giant, “This policy applies to apps which offer loans directly, lead generators, and those who connect consumers with third-party lenders.”

    In particular, the new Google policy guidelines detail conditions for loan apps in the countries of Nigeria, Kenya, India, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Unauthorised loan app operations are commonly based in these nations.

    Starting from January 31, 2023, any Nigerian loan app without the proper documentation from the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) will be removed from the platform.

    According to Google, the policy covers both direct loan providers and apps that help consumers find alternative lenders.

    In addition, the regulation won’t go into effect until the above-mentioned deadline in January, so developers of both new and old apps have until at least November 16, 2022 to get ready for the changes.

    To all Nigerian loan app developers, Google has this to say:

    “Digital Money Lenders (DML) must adhere to and complete the LIMITED INTERIM REGULATORY/ REGISTRATION FRAMEWORK AND GUIDELINES FOR DIGITAL LENDING, 2022 (as may be amended from time to time) by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) of Nigeria and obtain a verifiable approval letter from the FCCPC.”

    “You must, upon Google Play’s request, provide additional information or documents relating to your compliance with the applicable regulatory and licensing requirements.”

    Attempting to rein down predatory lending activities, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC, of Nigeria issued the Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending in August 2022.

    The same month the commission cracked down on “loan sharks” – unlicensed loan apps which operate in the country without proper licencing. It requested that Google take down Maxi Credit, Here4U, ChaCha, and SoftPay from the Play Store, seeing they were used to defraud citizens.

    FCCPC claimed its inquiries have uncovered evidence that several of the listed applications are owned by other widely used apps that are themselves being investigated for potentially unethical behaviour and possible breaches of consumer privacy.

    Even though the commission has taken steps to protect Nigerians from predatory lending practises, new unregulated loan apps continue to appear on the Playstore every day.

    We expect to see the new policy announced by Google, and which will take effect soon will help salvage the situation.

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