From May 31, the tech giant will restrict apps that offer personal loans from accessing sensitive user data such as photos and contacts. The move is meant to reign in predatory and intrusive lenders.
In an update on its personal loans policy, the conglomerate said it will prevent lending apps from gaining access to user contacts and photos.
“Effective May 31, 2023, we’re updating our personal loans policy to state that apps aiming to provide or facilitate personal loans may not access user contacts or photos,” said Google.
Kenya has also made key progress in a bid to tame overzealous behaviour of some digital lenders.
Google’s changes, for instance, are in tandem with stringent regulations that the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has adopted under the Digital Credit Providers Regulations 2021.
The laws are aimed at stopping mobile lenders from predatory behaviour such as making phone calls to defaulters’ friends, associates and family.
They also require the lenders to disclose to customers the cost of their loans, including interest rates, late payment and roll-over fees.
Starting December 15 last year, Google has shut out from its PlayStore mobile loan apps that have not acquired CBK licence. Play Store allows web and Android users to access applications for their phones.
“Currently, we only accept declarations and licences from entities published under the Directory of Digital Credit Providers on the official website of the CBK,” Google said in a past update.
The prohibition in the tech giant’s policy update next month will mean that the protection of client data will not be left in the hands of the digital credit givers but they will not access it in the first place.
In October last year, up to 40 digital lenders came under the radar of the data protection commissioner after the regulator reported receiving 1,030 complaints from borrowers who said the confidentiality of their personal information had been breached.