120 illegal personal loan apps removed from Google, Apple stores in Pakistan
The measure was taken by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), in collaboration with Google, Apple, and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
A total of 120 illegal personal loan apps have been removed from Google and Apple stores in Pakistan to protect the public from falling into debt traps, Dawn newspaper reported. Dawn is a Pakistani English-language newspaper.
The measure was taken by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), in collaboration with Google, Apple, and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), in view of the recent proliferation of illegal personal loan apps, raising concerns of misuse, data privacy violations and coercive recovery practices.
As per the SECP, it has not only strengthened its regulatory framework for licensed Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) but has also taken effective measures in coordination with relevant authorities to shut down unauthorised and illegal loan apps.
As per Dawn, through vigilant surveillance and complaints received via the SECP's dedicated complaint site, the regulator identified 120 unlawfully operating personal loan apps. It promptly reported these apps to Google, Apple, and the PTA for blocking, and also referred them to the FIA for further action in accordance with the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act of 2016.
The SECP has stated that it regularly checks the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store for the presence of any illegal apps.
Google as a result of the SECP's efforts and ongoing engagement, has introduced Pakistan's Personal Loan App Policy, according to which Google only allows SECP-approved Personal Loan Apps to be listed on its Google Play Store
Personal loan borrowers are advised to obtain loans only from licensed NBFCs. The SECP's regulatory framework for approved apps requires transparent disclosure of fees, loan duration, installments, and charges, according to Dawn.
The SECP has initiated inspections of licensed NBFCs that provide loans through apps to verify that these entities are not engaged in miss-selling, data privacy breaches, coercive recovery practices, etc.
The general public has been urged by the commission to report any illegal loan app or illegal investment schemes, as well as express their concerns in case of any misconduct by the licensed NBFCs too by filing complaints at SECP's dedicated complaint portal.