In recent years, mobile phone users in Pakistan have been plagued by fraudulent loan applications that lure individuals with low-interest loans, only to extort personal information and demand higher returns. These illegal loan companies operate without a proper license, which is a violation of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan’s (SECP) regulations.
To combat this issue, the SECP has partnered with Google and Apple to remove unlicensed digital lending applications from their platforms. SECP representatives have requested that both companies ban unlicensed digital lending applications and have mandated that licensed digital lenders disclose their full corporate name and licensing status on their app.
The SECP’s efforts have already yielded positive results, as Google has reviewed its policies and now limits its platform to licensed digital lending companies only. This move is in line with Google’s previous actions in other countries, such as India, the Philippines, Kenya, and Nigeria, where the company has cooperated with local laws.
In January 2023, the SECP reported 58 unlicensed lending applications to Google for removal from the Playstore. A similar request was sent to Apple for one unlicensed lending app. These efforts aim to prevent further scams and ensure that digital lending applications are genuine and do not mislead users in any way.
The SECP’s partnership with Google and Apple serves as a promising step in the fight against fraudulent loan applications in Pakistan. By limiting their platforms to licensed digital lending companies and mandating transparency for licensed lenders, individuals can better protect themselves from potential scams.