Google has taken a proactive stance in protecting consumers in Pakistan from the risks posed by fake and unregistered loan apps. To achieve this, the company has implemented a new screening policy for digital lending apps (DLAs) targeting users in Pakistan; the objective is to mitigate financial risks and uphold data privacy, offering an extra level of protection to users of the country.
New Policy Requirements for Digital Lending Apps in Pakistan
Effective from 31st May 2023, Google’s new policy for personal loan applications in Pakistan mandates that Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFC) lenders can only publish a single Digital Lending App. Attempting to publish more than one DLA will lead to termination from the developer account and any associated accounts. Developers seeking to offer personal loan apps in Pakistan must complete the Personal Loan App Declaration form and submit the necessary documentation before publishing their apps. Proof of approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) to offer or facilitate digital lending services in Pakistan is also required.
Google Play will additionally request further information or documents to ensure loan app compliance with applicable regulatory and licensing requirements. Any personal loan apps found to be operating without proper declaration and license attribution will be promptly removed from the Play Store. Developers must take immediate action to remove their apps if the submitted license, registration, or declaration is no longer valid under the applicable laws.
Stringent Guidelines for DLAs in Pakistan
Under the new policy, DLAs are strictly prohibited from accessing sensitive data such as external storage, media images, contacts, and fine location. Furthermore, apps offering short-term personal loans that require repayment in full within 60 days from the loan issue date are not permitted. The Director for Pakistan at Google, Farhan S. Qureshi, expressed the company’s commitment to protecting users by setting stringent requirements for Digital Lending Apps; these measures aim to reduce financial risk and ensure data privacy for consumers in Pakistan. “We strongly believe that the new requirements imposed on developers of personal loan apps will provide an extra layer of protection for the users,” he said.