A crackdown on more than 120 illegal loan apps has been removed from both Google Play and Apple’s App Store in Pakistan.
Spearheaded by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), this proactive move was achieved through a concerted partnership involving Google, Apple, and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
The escalating proliferation of unauthorized personal loan apps has sparked concerns over their potential misuse, infringement on data privacy, and coercive debt recovery practices.
In response, the SECP has undertaken substantial measures to fortify its regulatory framework for licensed Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) and collaboratively dismantle unlicensed and unlawful loan apps in coordination with relevant bodies.
Employing vigilant surveillance techniques and leveraging complaints lodged via the SECP’s specialized complaint platform, the regulatory body meticulously identified 120 personal loan apps operating without proper authorization.
Swiftly, these applications were flagged and reported to both Google and Apple for immediate suspension. Additionally, the matter was referred to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to initiate further actions by the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act of 2016.
The SECP reaffirms its commitment to regularly scrutinize the Google Play Store and Apple App Store for the presence of any unsanctioned applications. As a direct consequence of these rigorous efforts and continued engagement, Google has instituted Pakistan’s Personal Loan App Policy. Under this policy, only personal loan apps approved by the SECP are permitted on Google Play Store, adding an extra layer of security for users.
The SECP advises obtaining loans exclusively from licensed NBFCs for prospective personal loan seekers. The regulatory framework endorsed by the SECP mandates transparent disclosure of vital information, including fees, loan duration, instalments, and additional charges.
Furthermore, the SECP has taken strides in conducting thorough evaluations of licensed NBFCs that offer loans via applications. These assessments ensure that these entities avoid unethical practices such as misleading customers, compromising data privacy, or engaging in aggressive debt recovery strategies.
To foster a vigilant community, the SECP encourages the public to report any instances of illegal loan apps or dubious investment schemes. Additionally, individuals are urged to voice concerns regarding any misconduct perpetrated by licensed NBFCs.
The process for reporting such incidents has been streamlined through the SECP’s dedicated complaint portal, allowing citizens to contribute to maintaining the integrity of Pakistan’s financial landscape.
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