New Delhi: Due to safety concerns, Google has removed nearly 2,000 personal loan applications from the Play Store in India. Google reported that 2,000 apps account for more than half of all lending apps. Since the beginning of the year, the apps have been removed. Google shifted its focus to lending apps in India after the Reserve Bank of India issued a framework to ban unregulated lending activities in order to protect borrowers from harassment, extortion and predatory lending.
“With the support of local research and feedback from our stakeholders, we have updated the Google Play policies associated with personal loan applications in India,” said Saikat Mitra, Senior Director and Head of Trust and Security at Google Asia-Pacific. He went on to say that the apps posed a risk to Indian users, so the company decided to remove them after consulting with law enforcement authorities.
Mitra also revealed that when apps are uploaded to the Google Play Store, they are reviewed, but in the case of loan apps, many off-line criminal activities have been reported. Several trainees reported cases of harassment and extortion of loan repayments.
“We’ve worked with industry and law enforcement agencies to help address these issues since we became aware of user harms due to predatory practices adopted by some personal loan apps,” Mitra was quoted as saying by Business Standard.
Google became aware of unregulated lending applications after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recommended a law banning unregulated lending activities (BULA). Mitra went on to say that India currently lacks government approved apps. Borrowed applications that seem harmless may pose a danger to users in the real world. However, he is not in favor of a blanket ban on personal lending apps because he believes that there are some good ones. People need credit, especially in the wake of the pandemic and job losses. “There are dozens of good loan applications for every distressed loan application,” he said.