Google to Restrict Loan Apps from Accessing User Photos, Contacts

April 12, 2023

Google has announced plans to restrict loan apps from accessing sensitive user data such as photos, videos and contacts.

The search engine giant on Wednesday updated its Personal Loans policy for Play Store apps, imposing new restrictions that prohibit apps from accessing external storage, images, videos, contacts, the exact location, and call records.

“Apps that provide personal loans, or have the primary purpose of facilitating access to personal loans (i.e., lead generators or facilitators), are prohibited from accessing sensitive data, such as photos and contacts,” Google said in its update.

The updated policy change will come into effect on May 31, 2023.

The move is aimed at protecting borrowers from predatory lending practices by some lenders. Debt collectors would access the borrowers’ personal contacts and inform their loved ones of unpaid obligations.

Some agents would also access photographs and use them to intimidate and torment persons who owe money.

Google said it has also introduced the requirement for apps that advertise personal loans on the Play Store to submit particular license papers to “prove their ability to provide or facilitate” credit.

The company has also made it mandatory for non-banking financial companies to have only a single digital lending app on the Play Store.

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