In a move to help protect its users, Google has banned apps that offer certain personal loans from the Play Store in the US. According to The Wall Street Journal, this is Google’s way of fighting payday loans, which can come with triple-digit interest rates.
Google said this policy is designed to keep users safe. In 2016, the company implemented a ban on payday-loan ads in its search browser. This new app ban takes Google’s stance against these loans one step further.
Any apps that offer personal loans with an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 36% or higher are no longer available on the Play Store as of this August. To keep their apps in the Play Store, lenders must adjust their products and business models to meet Google’s requirements.
Consumer advocacy group Color of Change agrees Google’s new loan apps ban keeps predatory lenders from taking advantage of Play Store users. It is even calling for a similar ban in the Apple App Store.
Not everyone thinks this is fair, though. CURO Financial Technology Corp. believes this harms legitimate operators and consumers looking for legal loans.
Though this new policy makes it difficult for Android users to take out these loans, it isn’t impossible. Users can still sideload lender apps or use the device’s browser to access lender websites.