Intimidation, incessant calling and recovery agents turning up at the doorstep are tactics that come to mind when one thinks of banks making borrowers pay up. But if those scenarios seem scary, imagine personal data including messages and images being used against you over delayed payments.
To keep data scraping in check, Google has tightened the screws on apps on its Play Store that offer personal loans through a policy update.
Distinguishing recovery agents from blackmailers
Now online credit provider platforms will be barred from access to sensitive user data such as call logs, pictures, text messages, videos, location and contacts.
The policy set to take effect from May 31, 2023, will also require the apps to provide adequate documents with their declaration.
This means that loan platforms licensed by the Reserve Bank of India will need to furnish a copy of the document, which will be reviewed.
Apps will also have to clarify in the declaration if they are only facilitating other lenders and not providing loans directly to users.
All this information, including names of NBFCs and banks connected to the platform, must be visible in the description.
Clarity follows regulator's intervention
The name of the developer account has to match with the registered business name in the description, for the app placed under the 'Finance' category.
Google's step comes months after the RBI pulled up recovery agents for unfair recovery practices, such as scraping personal data that is later misused for extortion as well.
The regulator stepped in following several complaints of borrowers and guarantors facing harassment from agents of finance firms.
Its counterpart Apple already has a requirement on App Store for platforms to display the data to be collected along with the purpose behind it.