You might not find your favourite loan app on Google Playstore in a months time, if Google implements its new rules against loan apps.
In the new rules, Google will not allow apps that promote personal loans which require repayment in full in 60 days or less from the date the loan is issued.
“This policy applies to apps which offer loans directly, lead generators, and those who connect consumers with third-party lenders,” stated the tech giant in part.
Also, apps will be required to disclose the minimum and maximum period for repayment, maximum Annual Percentage Rate (APR), which generally includes interest rate plus fees and other costs for a year, or similar other rate calculated consistently with local law and a representative example of the total cost of the loan, including all applicable fees.
In the United States, Google will not allow apps for personal loans where the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is 36 percent or higher.
Locally, some apps give borrowers at least a month to repay the loans, while others give even two or three weeks which does not sit well with most borrowers.
The apps charge an average monthly interest of 15 per cent to an Annual Pricing Rate (APR) of 180 per cent per year, way above a maximum limit of 13 per cent set by Central Bank of Kenya under the interest cap law.
Currently, it is estimated that over 500,000 Kenyans are listed by various credit reference bureaus (CRBs) for owing less than Ksh200 shillings.
All the ‘victims’ took their loans from mobile loan apps, which have become popular across Kenya’s middle and low class income earners population. Most of them are youths between the age of 18 to 24 years.
There are over 500 mobile loan lenders who issue micro-loans to Kenyans, defined by short repayment period and high interests.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) governor Dr Patrick Njoroge directed commercial banks and microfinance institutions not to list a borrower on the CRB until one has failed to pay within 6 months after the maturity of the loan. The directive is to become effective in 3 months.