Thursday 4 March 2021
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Google pulls down 100 loan apps after RBI warning

The RBI had alerted Google to hundreds of money-lending apps that were live on the Play Store despite being non-compliant with local rules

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Politics India Google pulls down 100 loan apps after RBI warning

Search engine and Android base company Google has started to remove personal loan apps that do not comply with the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) guidelines from its Android Play Store following orders from the banking regulator to keep a watch on the excess of fintech applications hosted on the search giant’s platform.

Google cracked the whip on lending apps that are not authorised lenders but target vulnerable borrowers, offering them loans at exorbitant interest rates, and then use extreme measures for recovery of the money.

Furthermore, the RBI set up a working group to examine all aspects of digital lending activities to help it implement an appropriate regulatory framework. In December, the apex bank had cautioned people not to fall prey to the unauthorised digital lending platforms and mobile apps.

Google India began sending these emails on 13 January evening, said a chief executive of a licensed fintech non-banking financial company.

Vice President (Product) Android Security and Privacy Suzanne Frey, said in a blog, “We have reviewed hundreds of personal loan apps in India, based on flags submitted by users and government agencies.”

Although Google did not elaborate on the number of lending apps that had been removed, sources said that more than 100 lending apps had been taken off from the Play Store. They said further that the apex bank officials had alerted Google to hundreds of money-lending apps that were live on the Play Store despite being non-compliant with local rules.

“The (banking) regulator has communicated its unhappiness over the proliferation of unregulated fintech apps on Google Play Store and advised them to take such applications down,” a source said.

Google said all developers on its Play Store agree to the terms of the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement, which stipulates that apps must adhere to applicable rules and laws, including generally accepted practices and guidelines.

Google said it wanted to clarify the actions it is taking on a personal loan app, adding that such platforms have received attention recently.

The RBI on 13 January announced an internal working group to study digital lending activities so that an appropriate regulatory framework can be formed.

Recently, the Telangana police busted several rackets which involved fraudulent loan apps offering credit to users at exceptionally high rates and then blackmailing them for repayment by using several tactics, including threats. The police had asked Google to remove 158 apps from PlayStore.

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