In Karachi, Pakistan on July 18, 2023, Google has recently introduced a policy aimed at safeguarding consumers in Pakistan from fake and unregistered loan apps. The new requirements, effective May 31, 2023, permit only a single Digital Lending App (DLA) to be published by Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs). Any attempt to publish multiple DLAs will result in the termination of the developer account and associated accounts.

Developers targeting users in Pakistan with personal loan apps are now required to complete the Personal Loan App Declaration form and submit relevant documentation before publishing their app. Proof of approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) to offer digital lending services in the country must also be provided.

Google Play will additionally request further information or documents to ensure loan app compliance with regulatory and licensing requirements.

Personal loan apps operating in Pakistan without proper declaration and licensing will be removed from the Play Store. If the submitted license, registration, or declaration is no longer valid under applicable laws, developers must promptly remove their app from the Google Play Store.

Farhan S. Qureshi, Google’s Director for Pakistan, emphasized the importance of these measures, stating, “Google is implementing stringent requirements for Digital Lending Apps to mitigate financial risks and prioritize data privacy. We believe that these new requirements will provide an additional layer of protection for users.”

Under the updated rules, DLAs are prohibited from accessing sensitive data such as external storage, media images, contacts, and precise location. Additionally, short-term personal loan apps requiring full repayment within 60 days from the loan issue date are not permitted.

Pakistan is among a select group of countries where Google has implemented these additional requirements for DLAs. This policy update represents a significant step towards protecting consumers from harmful financial practices and ensuring data privacy.