Google has removed Kenyan loan apps from their Play Store as it targets unregistered money lenders in a bid to curb unlicensed credit providers.
This is in line with a regulation that came to conclusion in January, that reaffirmed the importance of loan applications being registered.
Kenya’s Digital Credit Providers (DCP) require lenders to acquire licenses from the Central Bank of Kenya.
A spot-check by Capital Business showed that OKash and MoKash, among others, were no longer available on Play Store.
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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) approved Digital Credit Providers (DCPs) such as Tala Inventure Mobile Limited (Trading as Tala), Letshego Kenya Ltd, and MFS Technologies Limited to issue credit services in the country.
Other creditors were Sevi Innovation Limited, Tenakata Enterprises Limited, Umoja Fanisi Limited, and Zanifu Limited. Natal Tech Company Limited, Ngao Credit Limited, and Pezesha Africa Limited.
At the moment, CBK has approved 22 DCPs out of a total of 381 in the country.
Former President Uhuru Kenyatta, in December 2021, consented to the Central Bank Amendment Bill 2021, allowing the CBK to govern non-deposit-taking credit facilities.
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This gives CBK the power to interrupt any DCP that contravenes data confidentiality by going after borrowers and charging high-interest rates.
“The licensing and oversight of DCPs as indicated previously were precipitated by concerns raised by the public about the predatory practices of the unregulated DCPs, and in particular, their high cost, unethical debt collection practices, and the abuse of personal information.”
Digital lenders have increasingly come under the microscope for misusing the private data of users by inundating borrowers.
Last year, Google imposed strict regulations on online lenders doing business in Kenya, aiming to protect consumers’ privacy while purging malicious Google Play app creators.
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Relatives and kin were being bombarded with calls asking them to plead with the borrower to settle loans taken.
The apps often require users to let them access their calls, SMSs, contacts, and other permissions before they are allowed to use them.
In September CBK announced it had approved 10 digital lenders who had complied with new digital lending laws and granted them operational licenses.