Google is continuing its crackdown on financial apps that are deemed predatory and harmful to users on the Google Play Store. They have now updated the restricted content policy page and have listed high-interest loan services or those with 36% and higher APR as well as personal loan apps. While the Play Store was a free-for-all marketplace previously, they are now more strict in monitoring the content that these apps and games bring to avoid users being taken for an expensive ride.
While there are a lot of “legitimate” financial apps available in the store, like bank apps and even third-party apps for investments, budgeting, etc. There are also loan-related apps that are permitted on the Play Store for car loans, student loans, mortgages, revolving credit, etc. But what Google is cracking down on now are the slightly less legit apps, particularly those that impose a pretty steep APR or annual percentage rate.
Without any announcement, Google updated the restricted content policy page and now says that those apps offering 36% and above APR will no longer be allowed on the Play Store. Loan apps will also now be required to disclose things like APRs, minimum and maximum repayment period, and an example of the total cost of the loan. They are hoping that this will weed out the harmful loan apps from the legitimate ones.
Also included in their restricted apps are those that offer personal loans that have to be repaid in 60 days. These are called short-term or “payday” loans. They are also banning financial apps that are just linking to third-party apps that are offering these kinds of products. We’ll see in the next few days if these restrictions will be followed and are effective in removing these “predatory” loan apps.
Google has been restricting the content of some of the apps on the Play Store, including financial apps that are used to mine cryptocurrency and to trade binary options. They have also been stricter in banning gambling apps and others that are involved in illegal activities, trying to make it a safe space for Android users.