Users exposed exorbitant fees and unethical tactics, leading to the removal of popular loan apps
In response to user complaints and scrutiny regarding the credibility of certain services, Apple has taken down a number of predatory lending apps from its App Store in India. Notably, popular apps such as Pocket Kash, White Kash, Golden Kash, and OK Rupee were among the apps removed, which had gained significant popularity and achieved high rankings in the finance category.
The decision to remove these apps was prompted by numerous user reviews that shed light on the exorbitant fees and charges imposed by these apps, causing widespread concern among consumers. However, what added to the gravity of the situation were the unethical tactics employed by these lending apps to coerce borrowers into repayment.
Several reports have revealed that some users received distressing messages containing personal photos and contact information, accompanied by threats to expose their loan status to their contacts if they failed to repay within a specified timeframe. The apps, developed by individuals with suspicious identities and websites, were flooded with similar reviews, with some users sharing even more alarming accounts of threats made by the lenders.
Apple removed at least six apps from the App Store within a matter of days. According to a TechCrunch report, these apps violated the Apple Developer Program License Agreement and guidelines. Additionally, Apple’s investigation revealed that these apps falsely claimed an association with a financial institution.
“The App Store and our App Review Guidelines are designed to ensure that we are providing our users with the safest experience possible,” stated Apple in response to the situation. “We do not tolerate fraudulent activity on the App Store and have stringent rules against apps and developers who attempt to cheat the system.”
The distribution of predatory lending apps in India has been predominantly through the Google Play Store, given the dominance of the Android mobile operating system in the country. However, Google and the country’s central bank have also taken steps to address the issue in the past year. Measures have been implemented to ensure lending apps disclose their terms to users, maintain transparency, and restrict access to users’ personal data.
While Apple has long advocated for its strict app review process as a means of protecting users from malware and scams, instances of fraudulent apps passing through the review process have raised concerns.
As the Indian tech market continues to grow, it is imperative for both Apple and Google to maintain stringent app review processes to prevent the proliferation of predatory apps and protect the interests of users. The recent removal of these lending apps from the App Store signifies a step in the right direction and serves as a reminder of the importance of consumer trust and user safety in the digital ecosystem.