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FG, Play Store ban loan apps from accessing customers’ photos, contacts

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Nigerian loan apps listed on Android Play Store will lose their ability to access their users’ contacts or photos starting May 31, 2023.

This came as the Federal Government (FG) said it would enforce the latest policy by Google, saying the action was consistent with the Nigerian authorities’ move to curtail the invasion of customers’ privacy by loan app firms.

Recall the FG through the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission had recently registered 170 loan apps out of the 200 operating in the country while vowing to clampdown on illegal operators.

Google, in its April 2023 policy updates, said the new policy update would provide respite for loan app users in Nigeria and other places that have become accustomed to crude loan retrieval methods employed by a majority of loan apps.

Google said, “Policy preview (effective May 31, 2023): This article previews changes included in our April 2023 policy updates.

“We are updating our personal loans policy to state that apps aiming to provide or facilitate personal loans may not access user contacts or photos.

“We are introducing additional requirements for personal loan apps targeting users in Pakistan. Personal loan apps in Pakistan must submit country-specific licensing documentation to prove their ability to provide or facilitate personal loans.”

This new policy is coming after the firm announced updates to its Developer Programme Policy, mandating digital money lenders in Nigeria, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Kenya to conform to regulatory rules or be taken down by January 31.

According to the firm, only digital money lenders that have adhered to and completed the Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending, 2022 (as may be amended from time to time) by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and obtain a verifiable approval letter from the FCCPC will be allowed on Play Store in Nigeria.

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