120 illegal loan apps removed from Google, Apple stores
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There are currently 120 illegal loan apps available on Google Play and Apple Store that were previously available to the public in order to prevent them from falling into debt traps.

The measures were taken by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), in collaboration with Google, Apple, and the Pakistan Telecomm­unication Authority (PTA), in response to the recent proliferation of illegal personal loan apps, raising concerns about misuse, data privacy violations, and coercive recovery.

Besides strengthening its regulation framework for licensed non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), the SECP has also taken effective measures to shut down unauthorised and illegal loans apps in coordination with relevant authorities.

As a result of vigilant surveillance and complaints received via the SECP’s dedicated complaint site, 120 unlawfully operating personal loan apps have been identified. According to the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act of 2016, Google, Apple, and the PTA were immediately notified, and the FIA was referred for further action.

SECP regularly checks the Google Play Store and Apple App Store for illegal apps, according to its statement.

Through SECP’s efforts and engagement, Google has introduced Pakistan’s Personal Loan App Policy, which allows only SECP-approved Personal Loan Apps to be listed on its Google Play Store.

Borrowers are advised to obtain personal loans only from licensed NBFCs. For approved apps, the SECP’s regulatory framework requires transparent disclosure of fees, loan durations, instalments, and charges.

The SECP has also initiated inspections of licensed NBFCs that provide loans through apps to ensure they are not engaging in miss-selling, data privacy breaches, or coercive recovery practices.