CEM REPORT, FINANCE | Loan Apps in Nigeria are now required to present licensing documents before they can be hosted on Google Play Store.
According to Google’s new policy guideline apps that offer loans directly and those that connect consumers with third-party lenders who do not possess or present relevant documents for the market they operate risk being removed from the platform effective from January 31, 2023.
However, the policy includes a grace period of at least 30 days from November 16, 2022, for all new and existing apps to comply with the policy.
Specifically, the new Google policy guidelines are targeted at loan apps in Nigeria, Kenya, India, the Philippines, and Indonesia as these are the countries known to be the operational base of unlicensed loan apps.
For loan apps operating in Nigeria, Google states that;
“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.”
With this, loan apps in Nigeria must now provide an approval document from the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) or risk being removed from the platform.
You would recall that CEM had reported severally on the activities of the FCCPC in clamping down the activities of unlicensed loan apps in the country due to their nefarious activities.
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The Commission had recently asked Google to remove 4 loan apps being used for unethical practices from the Play Store. The apps included Maxi Credit, Here4U, ChaCha, and SoftPay.
The Commission said its investigations revealed that the listed apps are owned by other popular apps that are under investigation for unethical practices and breach of consumer privacy. Specifically, it mentioned Soko Loan as the company behind several other apps being used to circumvent the efforts of the Commission.