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Google now prohibits personal loan apps from accessing user data


Google has recently made great efforts to protect consumer interests on Play Store, in an effort to comply with emerging regulations meant to take on predatory Digital Credit Providers(DCPs).

Last week, the tech giant updated its Personal Loans policy for apps on Play Store,  introducing new restrictions that now prohibit apps from accessing personal information such as external storage, photos, videos, contacts, precise location, and call logs. The new policy will take effect on May 31.

“Apps that provide personal loans, or have the primary purpose of facilitating access to personal loans (i.e., lead generators or facilitators), are prohibited from accessing sensitive data, such as photos and contacts,” the company said in its update.

The blanket policy applies to apps offering financial services. “We consider financial products and services to be those related to the management or investment of money and cryptocurrencies, including personalized advice,” the company said, calling on all affected products to “comply with state and local regulations for any region or country that your app targets – for example, include specific disclosures required by local law.”

This comes at a time when the Kenyan government is strictly regulating the digital lending landscape which has been accused of consumer harassment, particularly in recovering loans from defaulters.

Part of Google’s new policy is ensuring that nonbanking financial companies have only a single digital lending app on Play Store.

The tech behemoth has singled out  India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Nigeria, Kenya, and Pakistan as nations that must comply with specific terms and conditions for financial apps to be allowed on Google Play Store.

Here are the requirements listed by Google for Kenya loan apps.

  • Digital Credit Providers (DCP) should complete the DCP registration process and obtain a license from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). You must provide a copy of your license from the CBK as part of your declaration.
  • If you are not directly engaged in money lending activities and are only providing a platform to facilitate money lending by registered DCP(s) to users, you will need to accurately reflect this in the declaration and provide a copy of the DCP license of your respective partner(s).
  • Currently, we only accept declarations and licenses from entities published under the Directory of Digital Credit Providers on the official website of the CBK.

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Simon W Nderitu

Simon is a tech enthusiast who keeps a close eye on emerging technologies, startups and the general business environment. You will often catch him totally immersed and drooling over Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, IoT and just about any other tech that promises to revolutionize the way we live. Send tips to snderitu@techtrendske.co.ke

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