the Federal Competition and Consumer Agency ordered the Google Play Store to take down four money lending companies for “escalating unethical, heinous and unscrupulous practices in the industry”.
The money lending companies affected are Maxi Credit, ChaCha, Here4U and SoftPay, a statement signed by Babatunde Irukera, the chief executive of the commission said.
Mr Irukera gave the order during a law enforcement operation in the Ikeja area of Lagos on Thursday.
In March, he led a similar operation to tackle a “possible violation” of consumer rights when at least seven loan companies, including Soko Loan, were raided.
The commission boss said some loan companies, including Soko Loan, that were investigated “have developed methods to leverage technology and other financial service alternatives to circumvent account freezing and application suspension orders.
“With today’s operations, the Commission expects a significant further reduction in these unacceptable practices. »
Money Lending Service Guidelines
“The Commission has issued further orders to Google Play Store to remove the following (money lending) apps which have been found to be created and operating as a circumvention of existing investigative interventions; Maxi Credit, Here4U, ChaCha and SoftPay,” the statement read.
“For applications that are not on the Play Store, the Commission continues to trace the platforms on which they are hosted in order to disable them; the Commission invites the public to provide information in this respect. »
The Commission also ordered all payment systems in operation, including Flutterwave, Opay, Paystack and Monify, to immediately cease providing payment or transaction services to the money lenders under investigation. investigation or has requested the approval of the Commission.
“The Commission has also ordered telecommunications/technology companies (including mobile network operators (MNOs)) to cease and desist from providing servers/hosting or other key services such as connectivity to disclosed lenders or who are targets/subjects of investigation or otherwise operating without regulatory approval,” the statement read.
Mr. Irukera said that a regulatory framework to promote fair, transparent and mutually beneficial alternative lending opportunities outside of traditional consumer lending is now available.
“You need authorization to make digital loans; it provides a limited moratorium period for existing businesses to comply in order to continue lending to digital,” he explained.
“The guidelines also oblige different (money lending) service providers in the relevant ecosystem (such as banks, access/download platforms or stores, technology providers and payment systems) to require regulatory approval before providing services. »
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