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SECP removes 120 illegal loan apps from Google, Apple stores

By Our Correspondent
August 17, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has removed 120 illegal loan apps from Google and Apple stores in a bid to protect the public from debt traps and data breaches, it said on Wednesdsay.

The SECP said it had identified and reported the unlawful apps to Google, Apple and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for blocking, and referred them to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for further action under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act of 2016.

The regulator said it had also tightened its regulatory framework for licensed

non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) that provide loans through apps, and

initiated inspections to verify their compliance with disclosure, privacy and recovery rules.

The move comes after a surge in complaints about illegal personal loan apps that charge exorbitant interest rates, misuse borrowers’ personal data, and harass them for repayments.

“As a result of SECP’s efforts and continuous engagement, Google has introduced Pakistan’s Personal Loan App Policy, according to which Google only allows SECP-approved Personal Loan Apps for placement on its Google Play Store,” the SECP said in a statement.

The SECP advised borrowers to obtain loans only from licensed NBFCs, and to file complaints against illegal loan apps or investment schemes at its dedicated portal.