Google Updates Play Store Policies For Personal Loan Apps
Lately, the Google Play Store has seen the development of many applications that try to convince users to take out loans. No, I’m not talking about apps that try to peddle crypto; these are long gone. The apps in question use just about every trick in the book to convince users to take out loans at exorbitant interest rates. The terms and conditions are often sketchy, and people end up paying a lot more than what they signed up for. Today, Google released new rules in Google Play Developer Policies aimed at preventing predatory lending apps from engaging in manipulative behavior.
We define personal loans as the lending of money from an individual, organization or entity to an individual consumer on a one-time basis, and not for the purpose of financing the purchase of a fixed asset or education. Personal loan consumers need information about the quality, features, fees, risks, and benefits of loan products in order to make informed decisions about whether to take out a loan.
- Examples: personal loans, payday loans, peer-to-peer loans, title loans
- Not included: Mortgages, auto loans, student loans, revolving lines of credit (such as credit cards, personal lines of credit)
Personal loan applications must disclose the following information in the application metadata:
- Minimum and maximum repayment period
- Maximum Annual Percentage Rate (APR), which typically includes the interest rate plus fees and other costs for one year, or another similar rate calculated in accordance with local law
- A representative example of the total cost of the loan, including all applicable fees
We do not allow apps that promote personal loans that require full repayment within 60 days or less of the loan issue date (we call them “short term personal loans”). This policy applies to apps that offer direct loans, lead generators, and those that connect consumers with third-party lenders.
High APR personal loans
In the United States, we do not allow applications for personal loans with an annual percentage rate (APR) of 36% or more. Applications for personal loans in the United States must display their maximum APR, calculated in accordance with the Truth in Lending Act (TILA).
This policy applies to apps that offer direct loans, lead generators, and those that connect consumers with third-party lenders.
Google’s policies already prohibited apps that engaged in such behavior, but now they’re becoming more specific. Developers working on personal loan applications must have data about the loan product in the metadata. This allows the Google Play Store to verify that the app is not charging a higher interest rate than advertised. Google will also ban apps that require a full refund in 60 days or less. Additionally, apps that attempt to generate high fees and hidden fees will also have the ax.