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Google revises personal loan apps policy in India, blocks access to photos, contacts

Predatory loan apps used to access personal photos stored in phone to black mail borrowers for late payment in India
ohit KVN
Last Updated : 07 April 2023, 05:42 IST
Last Updated : 07 April 2023, 05:42 IST
Last Updated : 07 April 2023, 05:42 IST
Last Updated : 07 April 2023, 05:42 IST

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For the past few years, the central government and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have been reeling with complaints from citizens over the predatory practices of loan app companies.

There were lots of reports of companies using anti-social elements to physically harm those borrowers, who failed to pay the timely interest.

Also, loan apps used to take permission of accessing photo albums and contacts lists on the users' smartphones, and when he/she failed to pay back on time, they used to contact relatives and friends with threats and humiliate the borrowers. Several people took extreme steps of suicide.

Taking cognizance of the severity of the issue, government and banking agencies asked platform owners such as Apple and Google to ban a few guilty loan apps, which also charged high-interest rates on naive borrowers.

Now, Google has revised the Play policies, and now loan apps are barred from accessing phone storage, photos, videos, and contact list with phone numbers, and locations.

Also, loan apps should have the necessary approvals from RBI and have to submit them to Google Play for review.

And, if the app is not directly engaged in money lending activities and is only providing a platform to facilitate money lending by registered Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) or banks to users, you will need to accurately reflect this in the declaration.

The new changes have to be complied by the loan apps and others with related services by May 31, 2023.

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Published 06 April 2023, 14:55 IST

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