Google has so far removed about 100 instant loan apps from its PlayStore in the country that were involved in alleged collection of personal data and its misuse, fraudulent and unlawful practices of physical threats and use of other coercive methods for recovery of loans, according to the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY).
Answering a query in the Lok Sabha, the IT Ministry said that upon being notified by law enforcement agencies of the availability of certain money lending apps that were possibly not in compliance with the applicable legal and regulatory framework, Google has already removed about 100 such apps since December 2020 till January 20, 2021.
The IT ministry said it received a number of public grievances against frauds and the malpractices by few online instant loan applications available on internet including on Google PlayStore.
Google last month informed that it reviewed hundreds of personal loan apps in India and pulled down several of them found to be violating its app policies.
The company said it has asked the developers of the remaining identified apps to demonstrate that they comply with applicable local laws and regulations in India.
“We have reviewed hundreds of personal loan apps in India, based on flags submitted by users and government agencies,” said Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in December said that legitimate public lending activities can be undertaken by banks, NBFCs registered with RBI and other entities who are regulated by the state governments under appropriate statutory provisions such as Money Lending Acts.
“Members of the public were cautioned not to fall prey to such unscrupulous activities and were requested to verify the antecedents of the company/firm offering loans online or through mobile apps,” the RBI had said.
As per the “Google Play Developer Policy”, financial services apps that offer personal loans are required to disclose key information such as minimum and maximum periods of repayment, maximum annual percentage rate, and a representative example of the total loan cost.
To help further ensure that users are not subject to unfair terms, only personal loan apps with full repayment required in greater than or equal to 60 days from the date the loan is issued are permitted, according to Google policy.