Google removed thousands of illegal loan apps from its Play Store over a two-year period, ending in August 2023. This action was taken to address the issue of unauthorized lending apps.
Removal of Illegal Loan Apps:
- April 2021 – July 2022: During this period, Google reviewed around 3,500 to 4,000 loan apps. Over 2,500 of these apps were suspended or removed from the Play Store.
- Sept 2022 – Aug 2023: More than 2,200 additional loan apps were removed from the Play Store during this time.
- Google has revised its policy for loan apps on the Play Store. Now, only apps published by regulated entities or those in partnership with regulated entities are permitted.
- The government collaborates with regulatory bodies like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to combat illegal loan apps.
- RBI has issued regulatory guidelines on digital lending, strengthening the regulatory framework in this sector.
- In October 2022, RBI provided a list of 442 digital lending apps used by regulated entities to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) for whitelisting. This list was shared with Google.
- Google also removed fake loan apps with significant downloads, emphasizing the importance of verifying app credibility.
Recommendations for Users:
- Verify the credibility of fintech lending apps, even if they claim to be part of a regulated ecosystem.
- Look for positive reviews and a substantial number of downloads.
- Prefer apps from established entities over newer ones.
- Ensure the app is associated with an RBI-regulated entity or registered with one.
- Check for a well-established customer care mechanism for grievance redressal.
- RBI’s guidelines mandate regulated entities to have a dedicated grievance redressal officer for addressing complaints.
By following these precautions, users can mitigate the risks associated with unauthorized loan apps and protect their financial interests.