- Google India has noted that it allows personal loan apps with full repayment required in greater than or equal to 60 days from the date the loan is issued.
- Google noted that the apps that were found to violate our user safety policies were immediately removed from the PlayStore.
- According to a report, some loan apps were charging an interest rate as high as 60 per cent from borrowers.
Google India in a blog post on Thursday noted that it will remove any loan app on PlayStore that does not comply with local laws and regulations. The development comes after reports have flagged at least 10 Indian lending apps that have been downloaded millions of times on Google's Play Store breached Google rules on loan repayment lengths or tenures.
"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," Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy, Google India wrote in a blog post. "Apps that fail to do so will be removed without further notice. In addition, we will continue to assist the law enforcement agencies in their investigation of this issue," she added.
Four apps 10MinuteLoan, Ex-Money and Extra Mudra and StuCred were taken down from the Play Store after Reuters flagged to Google that they were violating its ban on offering personal loans requiring full repayment in 60 days or less. StuCred was allowed back on Google Google Play store on January 7 after it removed the offer of a 30-day loan, Reuters reported.
According to borrowers quoted by Reuters, at least six other apps remain available on PlayStore that offer loan repayment lengths, or tenures with some tenures as low as seven days. Some even charge a processing fee of as high as Rs 2000 on loans of less than Rs 10,000 with tenures of 30 days or undertaking the interest rates to 60 per cent. The Indian banks in comparison charge annual interest rates of 10-20 per cent for loans that do not have to be paid back in full for at least a year.
"The Google Play Developer Policy requires financial services apps that offer personal loans to 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 cost," Frey noted adding that Google India allows personal loan apps with full repayment required in greater than or equal to 60 days from the date the loan is issued.
"We believe transparency of information around the features, fees, risks, and benefits of personal loans will help people make informed decisions about their financial needs, thereby reducing the risk of being exposed to deceptive financial products and services," she wrote. Google India has directed developers to only request permissions that are necessary to implement current features or services to protect user privacy.