Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service
Hyderabad, January 14
After six suicides committed by people who had taken loans through online apps but were named and shamed when the failed to return the borrowed money, the Telangana Police have written to Google asking it to remove all such dubious instant loan apps available on Play Store.
In an almost instant reaction, Google has written back to the police saying, “Personal loan apps have received attention recently, and we wanted to clarify the action we have taken on these apps on Google Play.”
Google went on to say, “We have reviewed hundreds of personal loan apps in India, based on flags submitted by users and government agencies. The apps that were found to violate our user safety policies were immediately removed from the Store, and we have asked the developers of the remaining identified apps to demonstrate that they comply with applicable local laws and regulations. Apps that fail to do so will be removed without further notice. In addition, we will continue to assist the law enforcement agencies in their investigation of this issue.”
Sources in the police said their discussions with the Google, officials have been fruitful and Google is believed to have given instant loan apps five days to provide document/approval from NBFC/RBI/ authorities concerned to remain active on its Play Store.
In a statement Google has said, “Providing a safe and secure experience across Google’s products is our top priority. Our global product policies are designed and implemented with this goal in mind, and we’re always working to improve our practices to enhance user safety.”
Further, Google has said, all developers in the Play Store agree to the terms of Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement, which stipulates that apps must adhere to applicable rules and laws, including generally accepted practices and guidelines. In addition, Google Play Developer Policy requires financial services apps that offer personal loans to disclose key information such as the minimum and maximum periods of repayment, the maximum Annual Percentage Rate, and a representative example of the total loan cost. To help further ensure that users are making sound choices, we only allow personal loan apps with full repayment required in greater than or equal to 60 days from the date the loan is issued.
“We believe transparency of information around the features, fees, risks, and benefits of personal loans will help people make informed decisions about their financial needs, thereby reducing the risk of being exposed to deceptive financial products and services,” it added.