Due to registration regulation violations, Nigeria Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has instructed Google to take down 18 digital money lending apps from the Play Store. To keep functioning, those applications need to show that they are in compliance with the regulatory framework set up in 2022 within five days. After receiving complaints about improper debt recovery practices, the FCCPC took action, ordering the removal of the violating apps and suspending payments to the associated businesses.
Speaking further, in a statement that was issued and signed on Wednesday by the commission’s Chief Executive Officer, in the person of Babatunde Irukera, in response to several reports of violation of those Digital Money Lending firms (DML) applications, he revealed that those applications that will be impacted include Camelloan, Cashlawn, Getloan, Nairaloan, Swiftkash, Eaglecash, Luckyloan Personal Loan, Joy Cash-Loan, Cashme, Easynaira, Swiftcash, Crediting, Hen Credit loan; Nut loan; Cash door; Cashpal, and Nairaeasy gist loan.
Illegal debt recovery strategies by some operators prompted this.
Even though these businesses are registered, the FCCPC has stated that they would be forced to cease operations unless they can establish that they are in compliance with the 2022 interim regulatory/registration framework and standards for digital lending. In light of this, the commission gave the DMLs five days to submit their evidence. According to a report by the media on this development, on July 20, 2023, the commission modified its list of registered and approved DMLs with the goal of preventing unethical conduct.
More so, the upsurge of illegal debt recovery strategies by some operators is to blame. According to the statement, payment gateways and services are forbidden from offering or continuing to provide the affected firms, and the commission has issued an order to Google LLC (Google) to remove those illegitimate products from the Play Store. The ongoing investigation and audit being conducted by the commission led to the discovery of those apps that are functioning on the Google Play Store without the necessary regulatory approval or in breach of the standards.
The commission will keep Google engaged on those apps.
As a direct consequence of this, the FCCPC announced that it had requested the immediate removal, withdrawal, or drawdown of the aforementioned applications. The consumer protection agency stated that it would continue to interact with Google on the presence of apps on the Play Store that have not been granted proper regulatory approvals. Only DMLs that have been approved by the commission and can prove they are in accordance with the rules will be made available on the Play Store.
When reviewing compliance in greater detail, the FCCPC said that several DMLs have resorted to the utilisation of file formats known as Android package kits (APK) in order to reach users outside of Google Play Store. The commission asserts that some DMLs are engaging in this practice to avoid or evade compliance with relevant regulations. All DMLs, including those that don’t plan to be distributed through Play Store or run in APK file formats, are required to comply with the criteria, according to the FCCPC.
Companies found to violate the rule may face legal action.
Any activity that is not conducted in accordance with the rules is illegal. Any DML, regardless of how or where it operates, has five days from the release date to provide FCCPC with proof that it complies with the rules. It urged not only Play Store but all active and approved DMLs that provide digital lending services in APK file formats to provide evidence that their APK business activities are valid. The commission stated that companies found to be in violation of the rule would be permanently prohibited from dealing and may face legal action, including prosecution.
Play Store: Website