Google Implements Stringent Policy to Counter Loan Apps in Pakistan

Google has implemented a new policy in Pakistan aimed at protecting consumers from fraudulent and unregistered loan apps. The policy, which came into effect on May 31, 2023, restricts Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC) lenders from publishing only a single Digital Lending App (DLA). Developers found attempting to publish multiple DLAs will have their developer accounts and associated accounts terminated.

To publish personal loan apps targeting users in Pakistan, developers must complete the Personal Loan App Declaration form and provide the necessary documentation. They are required to submit proof of approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) to offer or facilitate digital lending services in the country. Google Play may also request additional information or documents related to loan app compliance with regulatory and licensing requirements.

Failure to comply with the declaration and licensing requirements will result in the removal of personal loan apps from the Play Store. Developers are obligated to remove their apps immediately if the submitted license, registration, or declaration becomes invalid under applicable laws.

Farhan S. Qureshi, Google’s Director for Pakistan, emphasized that these strict requirements for Digital Lending Apps will reduce financial risks and enhance data privacy. Google believes that these measures will provide an additional layer of protection for users.

The updated policy prohibits DLAs from accessing sensitive data, including external storage, media images, contacts, and fine location. Additionally, apps offering short-term personal loans that require full repayment within 60 days from the loan issue date are not allowed. Pakistan is among a select few countries where Google has implemented these additional requirements for DLAs. This policy update represents a significant stride in safeguarding consumers from harmful financial practices and ensuring data privacy.