Google tightens the grips over lenders' market to maintain a fair playing field.
Lending platforms have witnessed a meteoric rise since the lockdown as everyone was looking for a financial stimulus to support them through the thick and thin, and that is right when the lending platforms started showcasing their significance and targeted the middle and lower-middle-class to offer them loans with minimum paperwork at lucrative pricing.
Following this consistent uptrend, tech giant Google has intervened to regulate the apps, and this has annoyed the fintech lenders, and they have counterattacked the tech giant with a list of Chinese lending platforms offering and operating on the short repayment formulas ranging from a week to 14-day period; which, is a direct attack on Google’s short lending policies that allows the minimum period to be of at least 60 days.
Lending platforms are enormously disappointed with Google's biased approach, and they believe Google is forcing their way through as an enforcer and are acting as a sensational regulator and snooping in for details that even central regulator does not follow up with.
Quite recently, Google has dipped its finger into the operation to review hundreds of money lending and credit app available on the Indian variant of the Play Store; all the apps that fall short on filling out the requirements to be deemed safe and user friendly are being removed with immediate effect from the play store.
The fall of these apps is an outcome of domino effects triggered by the Reserve Bank of India's order to take care of all the apps to maintain regularities and get rid of apps from the play store. Fintech Association for Customer Empowerment has officially written to Google to take care of irregularities and handle the problem at hand by laying down uniform regulations amid fintech players. Google formally has marked lending money for less than 60 days would mark them inappropriate for the platform.
However, the committee members are livid over the Chinese manipulation in the lending market. They have strictly warned Google of the irregularities and how, despite such careless operation and open willed defiance of Google's policies, they are allowed to operate with complete freedom. The committee members have also penned down the names of these Chinese-led companies and forwarded them to Google.
Way before the current escalation by FACE, Google had voluntarily claimed Play Store would not allow any app demanding a repayment period of anything less than 60 days from the borrower. For an app to be placed on Play Store, they need to disclose the minimum and maximum repayment period beforehand; along with this, the highest annual interest percent needs to be revealed with a representation of total loan cost.
Some of the popular apps that underwent public execution during the recent google crackdown were CashGuru, 10MinutesLoan, RupeeClick, and 100 more personal loan apps terminated from the Play Store on 17th January 2021. During the initial crackdown, PayU's subsidiary LazyPay managed to survive; however, soon, even LazyPay was barred from the Play Store. Naturally, the organization heads were not too happy with the revelation; however, PayU’s spokesperson assured that the app is currently unavailable due to administrative lag and not because of non-compliance with Google’s operational policies.
However, policymakers are very disappointed with Google's attitude as Google has asked them for their license number or certificate copy of NBFCs; policymakers believe Google has no authority to ask them for such proof of authentication and registration.