The Federal Government, through the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), has delisted two registered digital loan apps from the Google Play Store for harassing Nigerians. It stated that it came to this decision after investigating the apps.
According to the FCCPC, the permanently delisted digital lenders include Sycamore Integrated Solutions Limited, Orange Loan, and Purple Credit Limited, along with their respective apps — Getloan and ‘Camelloan.’
“In the course of the commission’s continuing investigation and tracking of these illegally operating digital money lenders, the commission has discovered duplicity by at least two otherwise legally registered digital money lenders on the commission’s approval list.”FCCPC
The Commission noted that the firms had also used APK to attract borrowers to a process and practice that is illegal and unregulated.
FCCPC cautions Nigerians against unregistered loan apps
The commission also declared that it would publish a list of the country’s illegal (unregistered) digital lending platforms. According to it, for their own safety, Nigerians should be aware of the country’s certified digital lenders list.
On Thursday, the Commission said it had added digital money lenders that had refused or failed to register under its guidelines on its watchlist for strict surveillance and necessary action.
In a statement signed by the Executive Vice Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer, Babatunde Irukera, the FCCPC said, “The commission has also placed digital money lenders that have refused or failed to register under the guidelines on its watchlist for strict surveillance and necessary action.
“The Commission will continue to scrutinise listed DMLs and periodically update the list to ensure only businesses that consistently and completely comply with the spirit and intention of the regulatory framework are allowed to do business legally in Nigeria.”
It advised Nigerians to use caution and restraint when choosing digital money lenders, and it explicitly urged people only to patronise those on its list of approved digital lenders to avoid being taken advantage of by unethical lending and recovery techniques.
What you should know
In April, the FG, through the (FCCPC) approved 173 digital lending platforms to operate in the country. Of the 173 apps, 119 have full approvals, and 54 have conditional approvals. The registration and approval process of lending platforms by it aims to protect Nigerians from many unguided atrocities.
Some of the approved loan apps listed by the commission include Branch International Financial Services Limited, Fairmoney Micro Finance Bank, Pivo Technology Limited, Renmoney Microfinance Bank Limited, Carbon Microfinance Bank Limited, and Creditwave Finance Limited.
Read here to see the full list.
The commission also released a ‘Limited Interim Regulatory/ Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending 2022’ to regulate the digital lending space and make registration and approval a prerequisite for companies seeking to operate in the space.
The regulatory framework was developed in response to the countless cases of persistent harassment that Nigerians experienced, endured, and reported at the hands of these lending apps, which are sometimes not even registered to provide such services.
In accordance with that release, the Commission noted that loan apps without the FCCPC’s approval would be removed from Play Store by Google and unavailable for download.
However, recently, the FCCPC stressed that a request for a total ban on loan apps is realistically impractical and ‘unworkable’ due to the nature of their operations. Mr Babatunde Irukera indicated in a media interview that outright banning these apps would not effectively address the current issues because they can be used from anywhere in the world, thanks to the internet.
So, it is up to Nigerians to properly take precautions in searching for licenced lending apps where they may access the necessary services.
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