Alphabet Inc’s Google has removed some lending apps targeted at consumers in India from Play Store in an attempt to protect users, it said in a blog post on Thursday.
“We have reviewed hundreds of personal loan apps in India, based on flags submitted by users and government agencies,” Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy said in the post.
A recent investigation by Reuters found at least 10 lending apps on Play Store breached Google’s rules on loan repayment lengths aimed at protecting vulnerable borrowers. It also found that a number of the lending apps also violated central bank regulations designed to protect borrowers.
Google did not elaborate on the number of apps that had been taken down.
Google has contacted companies and asked them to clarify if they are compliant with the rules and regulations, failing which an app could be removed from the Play Store.
“We ask you to confirm within five days of this mail whether you hold valid existing approvals or licences from the Reserve Bank of India to act as a NBFC (Non-Banking Financial Company) or are registered under any applicable state legislation to offer such services or are offering services on your app as a designated agent of a registered NBFC/Bank,” said the email, a copy of which has been seen by Reuters.
“If we do not receive this confirmation from you within 5 days of this mail, your app may be removed from Google Play.”
The online lending industry has come to the attention of the authorities after at least two suicides in the past month linked to alleged harassment by recovery agents of such apps.
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