Google says it has pulled more than 2,000 personal loan apps from its Play Store in India, and is working to make some changes to its policy at a time when the local central bank is increasingly cracking down on predatory practices.
Saikat Mitra, senior director and head of Trust and Safety at Google Asia-Pacific, said at an event in New Delhi Thursday that the aforementioned apps were targeting Indian users and that it pulled the apps after consulting with local law enforcement agencies.
In a matter of a few weeks, said Mitra, the company plans to bring some changes to its policy to build broader safeguards against such apps.
Google and scores of other firms have been racing to crack down on predatory lending apps in India that have been found to charge exorbitant fees from customers in some cases, and push ethical boundaries in their collection efforts. Some firms are also using the lending business to launder money for Chinese companies, local authorities have reported.
The Android-maker pulled hundreds of personal loan apps in India early last year and required that lending apps must provide customers with at least 60 days to make repayment.
The Reserve Bank of India has taken several steps in recent quarters to eliminate bad behavior from lending firms and fintech startups. In a guideline released earlier this month, the central bank has sought to restrict lending firms’ access to customer data and bring more disclosure around the interest they levy.