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FG asks Google to remove 18 loan apps from Play Store over regulatory infractions

FG asks Google to remove 18 loan apps from Play Store over regulatory infractions
August 02
19:36 2023

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has asked Google to delete 18 digital money lending companies’ (DMLs)  apps from the Play Store, over violation of registration rules.

The commission spoke in a statement issued on Wednesday, signed by Babatunde Irukera, its chief executive officer (CEO).

The DMLs include; Getloan, Camelloan, Cashlawn, Nairaloan, Eaglecash, Moneytreefinance Made Easy, Luckyloan Personal Loan, and Joy Cash-Loan Up to 1,000,000.

Others are Cashme, Easynaira, Swiftcash, Crediting, Swiftkash, Hen Credit loan; Nut loan; Cash door; Cashpal, and Nairaeasy gist loan.

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FCCPC said the aforenamed companies, although registered, will cease to operate unless they provide a proof of compliance with the limited interim regulatory/registration framework and guidelines for digital lending, 2022.

The commission, therefore, gave the DMLs five days to submit proof.

On July 20, 2023, TheCable reported that the commission updated its list of registered and approved DMLs to avoid illegal practices.

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This was due to the resurgence in the occurrence of prohibited loan recovery methods and practices by some operators.

“The commission entered an order to Google LLC (Google) to remove the same from the Play Store, and prohibited payment gateways or services from providing or continuing services to the affected businesses,” the statement reads.

“The commission, as part of its continuing investigation and audit, has identified additional apps operating on the Google Play Store without regulatory approval or in violation of the guidelines.”

As a result, the FCCPC said it asked “Google to immediately remove, withdraw or drawdown” the aforementioned apps.

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“The commission will continue engaging Google to clarify how and why apps that have not received relevant regulatory approvals are available on Google’s platform (Play Store),” the consumer agency said.

“Under the guidelines, only DMLs that have been subjected to regulatory scrutiny and compliance evidenced by written approval from the commission are allowed on Play Store.”

FCCPC DEMANDS COMPLIANCE EVIDENCE FROM DMLS

The FCCPC, speaking further on compliance, said some DMLS have resorted to the use of Android package kits (APK) file formats to reach consumers outside of Google’s Play Store.

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This, the commission said, appears to be a device by some of the DMLs to evade or avoid regulatory compliance.

“Compliance with the guidelines is mandatory for all DMLs regardless of whether they intend to be placed on Play Store, operate by APK file formats or any other means for that matter,” FCCPC said.

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“Failure to comply with the guidelines is a violation of law, and renders any such operation illegal. DMLs operating by any means or on any platforms whatsoever are, hereby, required to provide evidence of compliance with the guidelines within five days from the date of this release.”

The consumer body also urged all existing and approved DMLs providing digital lending services through APK file formats in addition to Play Store, to provide evidence that such APK operations are in compliance with the law.

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The FCCPC added that all previously approved DMLSs or otherwise must “revalidate the information provided to the commission by filling DL form 001 and resubmit the same to: [email protected]“.

The commission said companies that refuse to adhere to the directive will be permanently delisted and prohibited, and subjected to a law enforcement action, including prosecution.

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