Google Bans Several Payday Loans Apps From the Play Store

Oct 14, 2019 19:29 EDT
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Earlier this year, Google had updated the Play Store guidelines forbidding predatory lending apps from operating on the platform. The news rules also disallowed apps that require full repayment in 60 days or less. Today, Google has banned apps from offering personal loans with an annual percentage rate of 36% or higher on its Google Play app store. The move is part of Google's way of fighting payday loans, which can come with triple-digit interest rates. A Google spokesman said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal

Our Google Play developer policies are designed to protect users and keep them safe. We expanded our financial-services policy to protect people from deceptive and exploitative personal-loan terms.

Lenders must now adjust their products and business models to keep their apps on the Play Store. Consumer advocacy groups celebrated Google’s decision, as payday-loans are often targeted towards low-income customers who are more likely to use Android devices. A study found that households earning less than $25,000 a year are 51.8% more likely to own Android phones. Similarly, for those making $250,000 and above there was a 59.7% chance that they'd own iPhones. The estimates are based on surveys of 30,000 owners of mobile phones and tablets conducted earlier this year. The group is also petitioning Apple to implement similar policies on the App Store.

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Not everyone is pleased with Google's decision, though. CURO Financial Technology Corp, a company affected by the ban states that the move is 'unfair in the commerce world' and 'harms legitimate operators and harms consumers looking for legal loans.' Users can still use alternative methods such as web browsers to signing up for these services, though. Google also implemented a ban on payday-loan ads in Search, back in 2016. The company justified the move by stating that financial-services ads are “core to people’s livelihood and well being.”

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