Saikat Mitra, Google’s Vice President and Head of Trust and Safety for Asia-Pacific, sheds light on the complexities involved in managing fraudulent loan applications.
According to Mitra, the intricacies lie in distinguishing bad business practices, a task more complex than identifying malware or content issues within apps. He underscores the meticulous scrutiny each app undergoes before approval for listing on the Google Play Store.
While the company rigorously inspects apps for code-level anomalies and content safety, Mitra emphasizes the additional measures taken, especially in the case of loan apps, to safeguard users from scams and harmful software.
He highlights the collaborative efforts with regulatory bodies like the RBI, resulting in stringent policies for loan apps. Mitra points out the necessity for lenders to be affiliated with licensed financial entities, ensuring compliance with lending policies and data protection regulations.
Google’s stringent approach also restricts loan apps’ access to user data, requiring partnerships with accredited financial institutions for authorization on the Play Store. Mitra confirms that currently, 200 vetted loan apps are affiliated with NBFCs, a stark contrast from the 4000 apps previously listed.
He encourages users to download apps exclusively from the Play Store, cautioning against sideloading apps from unverified sources due to limited Google intervention and potential risks.
Mitra discusses collaborative endeavors with governments to regulate sideloading apps with intrusive permissions, acknowledging the challenges posed by their uncontrolled dissemination.
Reflecting on India’s digital lending evolution, Mitra acknowledges the rise of illegal loan apps exploiting vulnerable users, emphasizing the need for responsible advertising practices within the confines of the Play Store.
He clarifies that advertising legitimate loan apps through Google properties remains permissible and lawful, provided the apps adhere to Play Store guidelines.