The Nigerian government has cracked down on predatory digital loan apps, banning 37 from operating and closely monitoring dozens more.
According to a new report from the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), 37 suspicious loan apps have been permanently delisted and removed from the Google Play Store in Nigeria.
The FCCPC has been shaking up the digital lending space after numerous complaints of harassment and predatory practices by some loan apps against Nigerian citizens. The commission said only apps with regulatory approval can operate in the Play Store.
The banned apps include Swiftkash, Hen Credit, Cash Door, Joy Cash-Loan, Eaglecash, Luckyloan, Getloan, Easeloan, Naira Naira, and 30 others. The FCCPC stated these apps were operating without approval or in violation of its 2022 guidelines for digital lending.
While 37 apps were banned, the number of fully approved apps grew from 154 to 164. However, apps on conditional approval declined from 40 to 38, and those on the watchlist jumped from 20 to 56.
The FCCPC warned that non-compliance with its regulatory guidelines is illegal. Ongoing violations could lead to permanent bans, removal from app stores, and even potential prosecution.
Experts say the increased oversight aims to protect consumers from predatory lending practices like exorbitant interest rates, aggressive collection tactics, and arbitrary loan terms. Unregulated digital lending has surged in Nigeria, aided by limited financial access.
Though digital lending improves access, consumer advocates argue proper monitoring is essential. The FCCPC hopes its expanded guidelines, approvals and watchlists will root out bad actors while allowing ethical lenders to operate.
The crackdown is still ongoing. The FCCPC said it will continue vigilance and take action against any predatory lending apps that exploit or abuse Nigerian consumers.