Monday, 26 February

Google removes, bars 200 illegal Ghanaian loan apps from Play Store


Despite the challenges faced during the year, the Bank of Ghana says it did not renege on its drive to embrace financial inclusion as a policy objective, recognising its potential for broad-based economic growth and poverty alleviation.  

Accordingly, the central bank said it continued to use its policy and regulatory tools to provide the enabling regulatory environment to promote digital financial services to the benefit of all economic actors. Currently, there are 52 non-bank payment service providers who offer various forms of payment solutions to meet the "increasing" expectations of consumers, Governor Ernest Addison said at the Chartered Institute of Bankers' Governor's Day recently.

To further advance fintech activities, he said the central bank "successfully" engaged market players such as banks, DEMIs, PSPs, and MTOs in the inward remittance termination space to identify issues and implement policies and measures associated with inward remittance termination services to ensure a level playing field for all market participants.

Additionally, he said the cebtral bank launched the first cohort of its Regulatory Sandbox to support innovations in the areas of new digital business models not currently covered explicitly or implicitly under existing regulation, but have the potential to address a present financial inclusion challenge. 

Also, Dr Addison mentioned that "surveillance and investigations into activities of illegal lending applications have commenced with the identification of over 200 loan apps offering unapproved and unlicensed lending products to the Ghanaian consumer". 

In response, he said two separate public notices were issued in August 2022 and July 2023 to warn financial institutions to patronise only Bank of Ghana-approved digital credit products.  

To this effect, he said the bank "continuously engaged Google’s Regulatory and Policy unit, which facilitated the removal and barring of 200 loan apps from the Google Play Store". 

Since then, Dr Addison said "Google has reviewed their Personal Loan Policy to restrict these lending apps from accessing device information including SMS and contacts". 

In addition, he announced that the central bank, in collaboration with the Economic Organised Crime Office (EOCO), Cyber Security Authority (CSA) Ghana, and the Ghana Police Service, embarked on a swoop, which led to the arrest of 420 individuals, including three foreigners in July 2023.