Google bans personal loan apps from accessing sensitive data

Google has prohibited personal loan apps with short repayment periods or high interest rates from accessing sensitive data on Android devices due to reports of unethical practices leading to borrower harassment. The apps must meet specific criteria and disclose loan details to be listed under the Finance category. Additional requirements are imposed in certain countries, and apps are expected to comply with regulatory standards. This policy is aimed at safeguarding users from predatory lending and promoting ethical standards in personal loan apps.

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Google has banned personal loan apps that require customers to repay their loans within 60 days or have an APR of 36% or higher from accessing sensitive data on Android devices. The move comes after reports of unethical lending practices by some of these apps, which led to borrowers being harassed and their personal information being misused.

Apps must be categorised as ‘Finance’ in Play Console and must disclose information about the repayment period, maximum APR, the total cost of the loan, and privacy policy. Additional personal loan apps are required in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Nigeria, Kenya, and Pakistan. These requirements include providing the necessary documentation to support the app’s declaration and adhering to regulatory and licensing requirements. Personal loan apps cannot access sensitive data such as photos and contacts.

Google’s new policy aims to protect users from predatory lending practices and ensure that personal loan apps adhere to ethical standards.