Loan Apps delisted by Google and Nigerian regulator, lessons for Ghana


Nigeria’s Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) is taking some serious action to protect customers from loan application bullies. 

Techpoint reports that the regulator is teaming up with Google to permanently wipe out these troublesome apps from their app store.

This is all because of the relentless harassment and defamation that Nigerians have been enduring at the hands of these digital lenders.

Some of these loan apps have stooped to unimaginable lows by gaining access to borrowers’ private and intimate pictures. Some even send messages to the borrower’s friends, threatening to expose these personal images unless the loan is repaid.

The FCCPC is stepping up to the plate to ensure that Nigerians can breathe easy and borrow without fear.

Earlier in the year, the FCCPC mandated loan apps to register with it and approved about 173 apps to operate in the country.

In April 2023, the Joint Task Force (JTF) and the FCCPC collaborated to develop the Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending 2022. This collaboration aims to establish clear rules and guidelines to govern the industry, protect users, and hold loan apps to higher standards.

Even the tech giant,Google, has jumped on board to combat loan app harassment. They announced months ago that loan apps would not be allowed on their app store without regulatory approval. It’s a strong stance that can ensure only compliant apps make their way onto the platform. As of May 31, loan apps on the Play Store reportedly lost their ability to access users’ contacts or photos, an added layer of protection for users.

However, despite these efforts,the FCCPC has uncovered a troubling fact: many of the loan apps causing distress to users are not found on Google. It’s a sobering realisation that highlights the need for users to be vigilant and exercise caution.

The FCCPC therefore advises users to steer clear of apps downloaded using apk files or those that operate on platforms like WhatsApp, as these are often the ones employing such invasive measures.

Loan app harassment is a growing epidemic affecting other nations as well. Take Kenya, for instance, where the government is also cracking down on non-traditional loan providers who misuse user data. They have introduced new regulations that require loan companies to re-register as legal entities. So far, only 32 loan apps have received approval, indicating the scale of the challenge.


Meanwhile, in Ghana a joint operation by the Bank of Ghana, Cybersecurity Authority, Economic and Organized Crime Office and the Data Protection Agency led to the arrests of over 420 illegal loan app operators recently.

This comes just about a month after the Bank of Ghana put out a list of 97 of such illegal loan apps and warned the public to desist from dealing with them.

Indeed, several of them are listed on the Google Play Store and quite a number of them use both Ghana and Nigeria phone numbers, indicating that they may have their head offices in Nigeria.

Their modus operandi is not different from how they operate in Nigeria. They pry into customers’ privacy and embarrass them to everyone in their contact list and also threat to leak private pictures because at sign on, customers give access to everything on their phones without realizing it.

Following the mass arrests in Ghana, it is now time for regulators in Ghana to collaborate with Google to delist these apps from the Google Play Store.


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