Google to Require Government License from Personal Loan Apps in Kenya, Nigeria Starting in February 2023

"Personal loan apps operating in Kenya without proper declaration and license attribution will be removed from the Play Store,” said Google.

Google will require loan apps operating in Kenya to show proof of license to remain listed on its Playstore, part of measures targeting several emerging market countries like Kenya and Nigeria.

This is revealed in the company’s recent Developer Program Policy whereby it requires that developers with personal loan apps targeting Kenyan users must complete a declaration form, which includes a copy of a government license, before publishing their personal loan app.

“Personal loan apps operating in Kenya without proper declaration and license attribution will be removed from the Play Store,”  said Google.

Google says it will only accept declarations and licenses from entities published under the Directory of Digital Credit Providers on the official website of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). Platforms that do not offer loan services but facilitate other loan providers to offer loans will have to show the licenses of all providers utilizing their platform.

Earlier in the year, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) said that only 10 loan providers had complied with its new regulations introduced in March 2022, and been added to its directory – even though 288 applied.

In October 2022, the country’s data protection office said it was investigating 40 loan providers after receiving reports from Kenyans complaining about how the services processed users’ data. The majority of complaints it has received (54% out of 299 admitted) were made against loan apps.

However, it’s not just Kenya where loan apps are proliferating unregulated on the Google Playstore. Similar requirements have also been introduced for loan apps in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. For loan apps in Nigeria, Google requires they have a ‘verifiable approval letter’ from the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).

“You must, upon Google Play’s request, provide additional information or documents relating to your compliance with the applicable regulatory and licensing requirements,” Google indicated.

Kenya and Nigeria are major tech hubs in Africa and have witnessed the proliferation of loan apps, offering quick unsecured personal loans of up to $500.



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