Google companies

Nigerian consumer protection agency orders Google to remove money lending companies from app store

The Federal Competition and Consumer Agency ordered the Google Play Store to remove four money-lending companies for “increasing unethical, heinous, and unscrupulously exploitative practices in the industry.”

The money lending companies involved are Maxi Credit, ChaCha, Here4U and SoftPay, a statement signed by Babatunde Irukera, the chief executive of the commission said.

Mr Irukera gave the order during an execution operation in the Ikeja neighborhood of Lagos on Thursday.

In March he led a similar operation to tackle the “possible violation” of consumer rights where at least seven loan companies, including Soko Loan, were raided.

The commission boss said some loan companies, including Soko Loan, that have been investigated “have developed methods to leverage technology and other financial service alternatives to circumvent account freezing and application suspension orders.

“With today’s operations, the Commission expects a significant further reduction in these unacceptable practices.”

Money Lending Services Guidelines

“The Commission has issued new orders to Google Play Store to remove the following (money lending) apps which have been discovered to be created and operating as a circumvention of existing investigative interventions; Maxi Credit, Here4U, ChaCha and SoftPay,” the statement read.

“For applications that are not on the Play Store, the Commission continues to investigate on which platforms they are hosted in order to deactivate them; the Commission is seeking any information from the public in this respect.

The Commission also ordered all payment systems in operation, including Flutterwave, Opay, Paystack and Monify, to immediately refrain from providing payment or transaction services to moneylenders under investigation. an investigation or has requested the approval of the commission.

“The Commission also ordered telecommunications/technology companies (including mobile network operators (MNOs)) to cease and desist from providing servers/hosting or other key services such as connectivity to disclosed lenders. or known who are targets/subjects of investigation or otherwise operate without regulatory approval,” the statement read.

Mr Irukera said a regulatory framework to promote “fair, transparent and mutually beneficial alternative lending opportunities outside of traditional consumer lending” is now available.

“You need authorization to proceed with the digital loan; it provides a limited moratorium period for existing businesses to comply in order to continue lending online,” he explained.

“The guidelines also oblige different (money lending) service providers in the relevant ecosystem (such as banks, access/download platforms or stores, technology providers and payment systems) to require regulatory approval before providing services.”

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