Loan payout apps and loan aggregators on the Google play store in India, a link to the partner bank or non-bank finance company (NBFC). The measure was introduced as an additional security feature Google following a series of meetings the company had with officials from the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in recent weeks.
Google updated the policy on September 5th. Apps that didn’t comply – the deadline was September 19 – will be deleted from the PlayStore.
“For apps that continue to be non-compliant after the specified deadline, we have taken necessary enforcement actions, including removing apps from the Play Store, as part of our ongoing compliance reviews,” a Google spokesperson told ET.
The live links allow users to verify affiliation with the bank or NBFC, which in turn will highlight on their web pages a list of loan payout apps or loan brokers they approve or are affiliated with.
The government has sought to combat the threat of digital lending apps cheating customers by enticing instant loans. It’s also put pressure on the ecosystem — including platforms like Google, which distributes a majority of these apps — to do more to weed out fake apps. Google will continue to work with law enforcement and industry groups to address this issue, the spokesman added.
The IT ministry, in consultation with the RBI and the Treasury, is also working on comprehensive guidelines detailing the legal conditions that loan payout apps and loan brokerage platforms must comply with when operating in India, a senior ministry official said.
“Instead of asking them (Google or Apple) to allow or ban specific apps, our approach is to create a comprehensive framework that includes measures within which such (rental) apps can operate,” the official said. “Any other apps conflicting with this can then be removed. We are in talks with RBI about this.”
The IT ministry has also asked Google to “waterproof” its rules for listing credit apps, another official said.
On September 9, the Treasury said it had asked the RBI to whitelist lending apps that would be allowed to operate in India. The ministry said the IT ministry is being asked to ensure that only such apps are allowed to operate in India.
Google India introduced a new Play Store policy in May that requires such apps to prominently display the lending institution, interest rate and other details. The September 5 update requires them to add a link to banks and NBFCs and ask institutions to list the apps on their websites.
Credit apps in India are also required to submit a copy of their RBI license to Google India if they have one.
In August, Saikat Mitra, senior director and head of trust and safety at Google in Asia-Pacific, told reporters that the company was removing up to 2,000 loan-payout apps between January and June for violating PlayStore policies and RBI money rules have lending, law enforcement filings, and user feedback.
Mitra had said at the time that stricter rules were in prospect that would make the relationship between such loan payment apps and the banking partner clearer.