Loan Apps on Play Store to Lose Access to Users’ Contacts and Photos from May 31, 2023

Loan Apps on Play Store to Lose Access to Users’ Contacts and Photos from May 31, 2023

Starting from May 31, 2023, loan apps available on the Play Store will no longer be allowed to access users’ contacts or photos. The Federal Government of Nigeria has pledged to enforce this policy by Google, stating that it aligns with the government’s efforts to combat loan app firms’ invasion of customers’ privacy.

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission had recently registered 170 out of 200 loan apps operating in Nigeria, as part of the government’s attempts to tackle the violation of customers’ privacy by these companies.

Google announced the new policy in April 2023, which is expected to bring relief to loan app users in Nigeria and other countries that have become accustomed to crude loan retrieval methods employed by a majority of loan apps.

As stated by Google, “We are updating our personal loans policy to state that apps aiming to provide or facilitate personal loans may not access user contacts or photos. We are introducing additional requirements for personal loan apps targeting users in Pakistan. Personal loan apps in Pakistan must submit country-specific licensing documentation to prove their ability to provide or facilitate personal loans.

This policy update follows the firm’s announcement of updates to its Developer Programme Policy. Digital money lenders in Nigeria, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Kenya have been mandated to adhere to regulatory rules or be taken down from the Play Store by January 31. Only digital money lenders that have adhered to and completed the Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending, 2022 (as may be amended from time to time) by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and obtained a verifiable approval letter from the FCCPC will be allowed on the Play Store in Nigeria.

This policy update is expected to protect users’ privacy and ensure that loan app firms operate within the regulatory framework set by the Nigerian government. It remains to be seen how this policy will impact loan app users and the overall lending industry in Nigeria.

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