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FG asks Google to ban four loan apps for fraudulent practices

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THE Federal Government has asked Google to remove four loan apps from playstore.

The apps are Maxi Credit, Here4U, ChaCha and SoftPay, according to a statement signed by Babatunde Irukera, the Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).

Irukera said some of the loan apps have resorted to unethical, obnoxious, and unscrupulously exploitative practices in the industry.

He added that some of the investigated apps had devised methods to leverage technology and other financial services alternatives to circumvent account freezing and app suspension Orders.

The statement said, “The Commission has also today entered further Orders that will disable or diminish violators’ ability to devise circumvention efforts or alternative mechanisms to circumvent the objective of the investigation and protection of citizens.

“Particularly, the Commission has entered further Orders to Google Play Store to draw down the following apps which were discovered to be created and operating as a circumvention of existing investigative interventions; Maxi Credit, Here4U, ChaCha, and SoftPay.”

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The Commission also directed all operating payment systems including Fluttewave, Opay, Paystack and Monify to immediately cease and desist providing payment or transaction services to lenders under investigation or not otherwise operating with applicable regulatory approvals.

It also asked telecommunications providers to desist from providing the technology to host the loan apps.

The Commission singled out SokoLoan as the most prolific actor in violating consumer privacy, fair lending terms, and ethical loan repayment/recovery practices.

Illegal loan apps ignore Nigeria’s cyber laws, continue to shame customers

An ICIR report revealed that this act of shaming people publicly violates Article 2.2 of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), which bans illegal data sharing with third parties without a legal basis.

In the report, The ICIR reviewed the terms of service of some loan apps hosted on Google Play Store. These included NairaPlus, EasyCredit, TrueNaira, GoCash, CashLion, FairMoney and LCredit.

They all failed to disclose to users downloading the apps that their rights of access to users’ contact lists would be shared with third parties if they defaulted. This did not conform to Google Play Store’s policies.

The updated data privacy policy on the Google Play Store stipulates that apps that offer financial services on its platform should disclose to users what it intends to use their personal information for.

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In August 2021, the National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA) fined Soko Lending Company N10 million for sending threatening messages to borrowers, which it said constituted a privacy invasion.

Immediately after that, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) issued a statement on plans to commence investigations into the illegal practices of digital money lenders in the country.

In March 2022, the Vice-Chairman of the Joint Task Force of the FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, said the commission had frozen no fewer than 30 bank accounts operated by illegal loan organisations.

However, the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, maintained that despite the recent success in shutting down loan sharks, identifying these companies remained a challenge because of the underground nature of the business.

Author profile

Experienced Business reporter seeking the truth and upholding justice. Covered capital markets, aviation, maritime, road and rail, as well as economy. Email tips to jolaoluwa@icirnigeria.org. Follow on Twitter @theminentmuyiwa and on Instagram @Hollumuyiwah.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Fairmoney app should also be banned.they take more than 100% interest ,but would tell you this before taking their loan.Rhey decieve people into believing it’s 5% interest but it’s not.Scammers

  2. Lcredit loan App too should be part of loan Apps that ought to be banned. They’re not ready to comply with Nigeria’s cyber law.

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