Google is enforcing stricter measures against exploitative loan apps by restricting their access to sensitive data of debtors.

Predatory lending apps will soon find it harder to use threats, violence and other forms of harassment and blackmail to collect debts, as they will no longer be able to see the contacts, photos, and location of their borrowers on their Android smartphones.

Google recently updated its policy on personal loans to explicitly state that apps offering personal loans “may not access user contacts or photos.” The policy change will come into effect by May 31, 2023.


Specifically, personal loan apps are prohibited from obtaining the following permissions:

  • Access_fine_location
  • Read_contacts
  • Read_external_storage
  • Read_media_images
  • Read_media_videos
  • Read_phone_numbers

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The policy update will also require additional requirements for personal loan apps in Pakistan before they can be allowed on Google’s app marketplace. The current version of the policy already lists extra requirements for Philippine-based personal apps. These requirements include a submission of a personal loan app declaration and registration at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Google’s updated policy seem to be in response to reports of users from regions such as India and Mexico being blackmailed after failing to repay their loans. To force them to pay, lenders apparently threatened to send incriminating or doctored photos and videos to the victims’ personal contacts on their phone.

This article, Google clamps down on abusive loan apps, was originally published at NoypiGeeks | Philippines Technology News, Reviews and How to’s.