FG asks Google to remove Maxi Credit and other loan apps from its PlayStore

FG asks Google to remove Maxi Credit and other loan apps from its PlayStore

The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), has requested that Google remove four loan apps from the Play Store that are being used for unethical practices. Maxi Credit, Here4U, ChaCha, and SoftPay are among the apps that will be removed.

According to the Commission’s findings, the listed apps are owned by other popular apps being investigated for unethical practices and consumer privacy violations. It specifically mentioned Soko Loan as the company behind several other apps that circumvent the Commission’s efforts.

In August of last year, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) fined Soko Lending Company Limited (Soko Loans) N10 million for invasion of privacy. Following the FCCPC’s request, the Soko loan app was removed from the app store.

Mr. Babatunde Irukera, Executive Vice Chairman of the FCCPC, gave an update on the Commission’s enforcement operation carried out on Thursday, August 18, 2022, saying that the information available to the Commission demonstrates that Soko Lending appears to be the most consequential digital money lender, with multiple apps and brand names covering a significant share of the digital/online lending market, and one of the most prolific actors in violating consumer privacy.

The Commission has ordered that all operating payment systems, including Fluttewvave, Opay, Paystack, and Monnify, immediately desist from providing payment or transaction services to lenders under investigation or who are not otherwise operating under applicable regulatory approvals. The Commission has also ordered telecommunications and technology companies (including Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)) to stop providing server/hosting or other critical services such as connectivity to disclosed or known lenders who are targets/subjects of investigation or otherwise operating without regulatory approval.

Irukera also stated that for apps unavailable on the Play Store, the Commission will continue investigating what platforms they are hosted on to disable them. He also urged members of the public to provide it with any relevant information.

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