Google Updates Play Store Policies for Personal Loan Apps

Aug 21, 2019
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The Google Play Store, of late, has seen the rise of a lot of apps that try to convince users to take out loans. No, I'm not talking about apps that try to peddle Crypto; those are long gone. The apps in question use just about every trick in the book to convince users to take out loans at exorbitant interest rates. The terms and conditions are often sketchy, and people end up paying a lot more than what they signed up for. Today, Google has published new rules in the Google Play developer policies aimed at preventing predatory loan apps from engaging in manipulative behaviour.

We define personal loans as lending money from one individual, organization, or entity to an individual consumer on a nonrecurring basis, not for the purpose of financing purchase of a fixed asset or education. Personal loan consumers require information about the quality, features, fees, risks, and benefits of loan products in order to make informed decisions about whether to undertake the loan.

  • Examples: Personal loans, payday loans, peer-to-peer loans, title loans
  • Not included: Mortgages, car loans, student loans, revolving lines of credit (such as credit cards, personal lines of credit)
Apps for personal loans must disclose the following information in the app metadata:
  • Minimum and maximum period for repayment
  • Maximum Annual Percentage Rate (APR), which generally includes interest rate plus fees and other costs for a year, or similar other rate calculated consistently with local law
  • A representative example of the total cost of the loan, including all applicable fees

We do not allow apps that promote personal loans which require repayment in full in 60 days or less from the date the loan is issued (we refer to these as "short-term personal loans"). This policy applies to apps which offer loans directly, lead generators, and those who connect consumers with third-party lenders.

High APR personal loans

In the United States, we do not allow apps for personal loans where the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is 36% or higher. Apps for personal loans in the United States must display their maximum APR, calculated consistently with the Truth in Lending Act (TILA).

This policy applies to apps which offer loans directly, lead generators, and those who connect consumers with third-party lenders.
Google's policies already banned apps that engaged in such behaviour, bot now, they're getting more specific. Developers working on personal loan apps need to have data about the loan product in the metadata. That allows the Google Play Store to verify the app isn't charging an interest rate higher than what is advertised. Google will also ban apps that require full repayment in 60 days or less. Additionally, apps that try and rake up hefty fees and hidden charges will get the axe too.
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