The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) in Nigeria has announced a significant increase in the number of delisted loan apps. The report states that the number of delisted loan apps has risen from nine to 37, indicating a growing concern regarding the operations of these applications in the country.
According to a report, the FCCPC also disclosed that the number of fully approved loan apps has increased to 164 from 154, while apps with conditional approval have decreased slightly from 40 to 38. The commission further highlighted that the number of apps on their watchlist has surged from 20 to 56.
The report reveals that the delisted apps have been permanently removed from the Google Play Store. This move indicates a strong stance by the commission and emphasizes the need for stricter regulation in the loan app industry.
Some of the delisted apps include Swiftkash App, Hen Credit Loan App, Cash Door App, Joy Cash-Loan Up To 1,000,000 App, Eaglecash App, Luckyloan Personal Loan App, and more. The delisting process aims to protect consumers from fraudulent or unreliable loan apps that may exploit borrowers in vulnerable financial situations.
The Nigerian government, through the FCCPC, has been actively engaged in regulating loan apps to ensure transparency and protect consumers’ rights. Just a few weeks ago, the commission reinstated 154 loan apps, granting them full approval to operate in the country.
Apps such as Clan App, Nextpayday App, Aladdin Digital App, Kobogo App, and Paylater App are among those that have received full approval from the FCCPC. Also, the FCCPC has issued conditional approval to 40 other companies, bringing the total number of recognized loan app companies to 194 in Nigeria as of then.
This conditional approval implies that these companies must meet specific requirements to comply with consumer protection regulations fully. By subjecting loan apps to these rigorous standards, the commission aims to instil confidence in the industry and ensure that borrowers are treated fairly and not harassed.
Google stopped loan apps from collecting users’ personal information
In May 2023, Google updated its policy on personal loan apps, which could have significant implications for the industry. According to a report by TechCrunch, the tech giant pushed an update to its Personal Loans policy for apps on Play Store to restrict loan apps from accessing users’ sensitive information like photos, external storage, videos, contacts, precise location, and call logs.
This was coming over four years after Google published a set of new rules to keep its users safe from the predatory loan apps that were beginning to multiply in its store. This new policy is Google’s way of protecting consumers from these potentially predatory lending practices from some lenders that have led to harassing borrowers. The change came into effect on May 31, 2023.
The delisting of loan apps, implementation of regulatory measures, and policy updates underscore the global commitment to safeguarding consumer rights and protecting individuals from predatory lending practices.
It is not a surprise that there are a large number of apps on Google Play, particularly in Africa, that ask potential users to give them access to their devices’ most private data to continue with an application.
These apps often justify that these details are required for a credit check or risk analysis. However, some victims have claimed that lenders later blackmailed them or harassed their friends and family using incriminating or altered photos that were stored in their phone’s contacts book.
What is FCCPC’s next move?
With the increase in the number of loan apps on the FCCPC’s watchlist, it is evident that the government is intensifying its scrutiny of the industry. This heightened oversight is crucial to identifying and addressing potential risks associated with loan apps and maintaining a fair lending environment.
Moving forward, it is expected that the FCCPC will continue to collaborate with relevant stakeholders, including app developers, financial institutions, and consumer advocacy groups, to ensure that loan apps operate within the legal framework and adhere to ethical business practices.
The commission’s efforts will likely focus on enhancing transparency, promoting responsible lending, and improving consumer awareness regarding the risks and benefits of using loan apps.
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