TECHNOLOGY

Google and the Nigerian regulator delisted loan apps; lessons for Ghana

Google and the Nigerian regulator delisted loan apps; lessons for Ghana. The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) of Nigeria is taking strong measures to safeguard consumers from predatory loan application practices.

According to Techpoint, Google and the regulator are working together to permanently remove these problematic apps from their app store.

All of this is a result of the constant intimidation and slander that Nigerians have been subjected to at the hands of these online lenders.

Some of these loan applications have descended to unthinkable depths by accessing the private and intimate images of applicants. Some even threaten to reveal these private photographs to the borrower’s friends if the loan is not repaid by sending messages to the borrower’s pals.

In order to give Nigerians the peace of mind to borrow without fear, the FCCPC is stepping up to the plate.

The FCCPC required lending apps to register with it earlier this year and authorized roughly 173 apps to operate in the nation.

The Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending 2022 were created in April 2023 through cooperation between the Joint Task Force (JTF) and the FCCPC. With this agreement, the industry will be governed by clear rules and regulations that will safeguard consumers and hold loan apps to better standards.

Google and the Nigerian regulator delisted loan apps; lessons for Ghana

Even tech behemoth Google has joined the fight against lending app harassment. They stated months ago that without regulatory approval, loan apps would not be permitted in their app store.

It’s a resolute approach that can guarantee that only legal apps are allowed on the platform. A further layer of security for consumers was apparently implemented on May 31 when loan apps on the Play Store reportedly lost their ability to access users’ contacts or photographs.

Despite these initiatives, the FCCPC has discovered a concerning fact: many of the lending apps upsetting users are not accessible via Google. It’s a sobering realization that emphasizes the necessity for consumers to exercise caution and vigilance.

Therefore, the FCCPC encourages consumers to stay away from programs that can be downloaded via apk files or those that run on services like WhatsApp because these are frequently the ones using such intrusive techniques.

The problem of loan app harassment is spreading to other countries as well. Consider Kenya, where the government is likewise taking tough measures against non-traditional loan providers who abuse customer data. Loan companies must reregister as legal entities in accordance with the new regulations they have enacted. The difficulty is demonstrated by the fact that only 32 loan applications have been approved thus far.

Ghana

Over 420 illicit loan app operators were recently detained in Ghana as a result of a collaborative operation between the Bank of Ghana, Cybersecurity Authority, Economic and Organized Crime Office, and the Data Protection Agency.

This comes shortly after the Bank of Ghana released a list of 97 such unlawful loan applications and advised the public to refrain from using them.

In fact, several of them are featured on the Google Play Store, and many of them have phone numbers in both Ghana and Nigeria, suggesting that their headquarters may be in Nigeria.

Their method of operation is the same as it is in Nigeria. Because clients sign on and grant access to everything on their phones without realizing it, they invade customers’ privacy, humiliate them in front of everyone on their contact list, and threaten to disclose intimate images.

It is now time for Ghana’s officials to work with Google to remove these apps from the Google Play Store following the widespread arrests in Ghana.

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