Google has issued a new policy guideline requiring all loan apps on the Play Store to present all licensing documents for the market in which they operate.

Loan apps in Nigeria must now provide a document from the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) or risk being removed from the platform as of January 31, 2023.

The new Google policy guidelines, in particular, outline requirements for loan apps in Nigeria, Kenya, India, the Philippines, and Indonesia. These countries are well-known as the operational hubs for unlicensed loan apps.

According to Google, the policy applies to both apps that directly offer loans and those that connect consumers with third-party lenders.

It also states that all new and existing apps will have at least 30 days from November 16, 2022, to comply with the changes before the policy takes effect on January 31, 2023.

Compliance with FCCPC: For loan apps operating in Nigeria, Google said: 

  • “Digital Money Lenders (DML) must adhere to and complete 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 (FCCPC) of Nigeria and obtain a verifiable approval letter from the FCCPC. 
  • “You must, upon Google Play’s request, provide additional information or documents relating to your compliance with the applicable regulatory and licensing requirements.” 

Recall that the FCCPC has recently cracked down on unlicensed loan apps in the country, also known as loan sharks due to their nefarious activities. The Commission recently requested that Google remove four loan apps that were being used for unethical practices from the Play Store. Maxi Credit, Here4U, ChaCha, and SoftPay were among the apps available.

According to the Commission’s findings, the listed apps are owned by other popular apps that are being investigated for unethical practices and violations of consumer privacy. It specifically mentioned Soko Loan as the company behind several other apps being used to circumvent the Commission’s efforts.

Despite the FCCPC’s efforts, several other unlicensed loan apps are appearing on the app store by the day, and many Nigerians continue to fall victim to their antics. Although some of the apps are not available through the app store, the new Google policy is expected to limit access to them through the platform.

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