In a bid to protect its customers, Google today removed some personal loan applications from its Play Store from the Internet search engine, from where a vast majority of Indians download phone apps. It checked the products released by government agencies on the basis of user inputs and notifications and also issued notices to several others in the same industry.
Based on flags submitted by users and government agencies, Google has checked hundreds of personal loan applications in India. The apps that were found to breach their user protection policies were removed from the store immediately. Without further notice, apps that fail to do so will be deleted, said Suzanne Frey, Google Vice President of Product, Android Security, and Privacy, in a blog post.
Furthermore, she wrote, they will continue to support the law enforcement agencies in their investigation of the matter.
Google’s move comes a day after from Thane City, were arrested a Chinese national and an Indian as part of the Telangana police’s investigation into an instant scam for loan applications. At least 31 individuals have been arrested, including four Chinese nationals, in a multi-crore scam accused of being run by shell companies that lend small amounts against high-interest rates and threaten borrowers who refuse to repay.
In this sense, to make use of the Play Store platform, Google has set some criteria for loan apps. This requires, among other items, proof of license to operate, confirmation that local regulations are being complied with, and disclosure of interest rates along with the minimum and maximum repayment duration. They will not allow any company to provide any product or offer that provides loans for less than 60 days.
The company firmly believes that disclosure of knowledge about personal loan characteristics, costs, risks, and benefits can help individuals make informed decisions about their financial needs, thus reducing the risk of exposure to misleading financial products and services, as claimed by Ms. Frey.