In India, Google is under Pressure to stop the use of Illegitimate Loan Applications

In India, Google is under Pressure to stop the use of Illegitimate Loan Applications

The Indian government has asked Google to introduce more controls to curb the use of illegal digital lending apps.

Mumbai: The Indian government and central bank Alphabet Inc have asked Google to carry out stricter controls to help curb the use of illegal digital lending apps in India, according to the sources.

Although Google is not within the ambit of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the US tech giant has been summoned several times in recent months to meetings of the Indian central bank and government urging them to introduce more checks and balances. strict that could help get rid of these applications, according to four sources.

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Indian regulators have already asked lenders to tighten controls against illegal loan applications, which have become common during the pandemic. Regulators seek to control the proliferation of such apps that engage in unscrupulous activities, such as charging exorbitant interest rates and fees, unauthorized central bank bailout practices, or in violation of money laundering and other government guidelines.

Google said that last year it revised the Play Store Developer Program policy for financial services apps, including requiring additional requirements for personal loan apps in India from September 2021.

“We have removed over 2,000 personal loan apps targeting India from the Play Store for violating Play policy requirements,” a Google spokesperson said, adding that such action is being taken if its policies are violated.

“We will continue to work with industry and law enforcement agencies to help address this issue,” the spokesperson added.

While India’s central bank requires lending apps listed on app stores to be backed by regulated entities, it’s up to Google to enforce this and monitor compliance.

Google has also been asked to consider limiting the appearance of such apps through other distribution channels, such as websites and other downloads, according to another industry source directly involved.

Google also began working on complaints from industry bodies.

said one of four industry sources directly involved in the matter who was briefed on the talks with Google.

The Government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are preparing a white list of approved loan applications. The central bank has also put in place rules to ensure that the borrower must deal directly with the bank to lend and recover, which can help keep third-party recovery agents at bay.

Google dominates the app market in India with 95% of smartphones using its Android platform.

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The Department of Electronics and Information Technology and the RBI did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

New advertising policy

The digital loan market in India has grown quickly and easily with $2.2 billion worth of digital loans in 2021-22. It’s unclear how much of this is done through apps that engage in illegal practices.

These lenders often reach customers through advertisements on platforms like Facebook and Google.

Starting next month, Google will implement a new advertising policy for financial services in India, as shown in a blog post on its website.

The policy states that to show financial services ads in India, advertisers must be verified in the country. As part of verification, advertisers must show that they are licensed by the relevant financial services regulator, the blog says.

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