The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), in collaboration with Google, Apple, and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), has successfully removed a total of 120 illegal personal loan apps from Google and Apple stores in the country. This action aims to protect the public from falling into debt traps and address concerns regarding misuse, data privacy violations, and coercive recovery practices.

The SECP has strengthened its regulatory framework for licensed non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and has taken effective measures to shut down unauthorized and illegal loan apps. Through constant surveillance and complaints received via the SECP’s dedicated complaint portal, the regulator identified these illegally operating personal loan apps. They were immediately reported to Google, Apple, and the PTA for blocking and also referred to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for further action.

The SECP regularly monitors the Google Play Store and Apple App Store for illegal apps. As a result, Google has introduced the Pakistan Personal Loan App Policy, which only allows SECP-approved personal loan apps to be listed on its Google Play Store. Loan applicants are advised to obtain loans only from licensed NBFCs that comply with the SECP’s regulatory framework. This framework requires transparent disclosure of fees, loan duration, installments, and charges.

To ensure compliance, the SECP has initiated inspections of licensed NBFCs providing loans through apps. These inspections verify that these entities are not involved in fraudulent sales, data privacy breaches, coercive recovery practices, and other misconduct. The SECP urges the general public to report any illegal loan app or investment scheme and express their concerns regarding the misconduct of licensed NBFCs by filing complaints on the dedicated complaint portal.

By removing these illegal personal loan apps, Pakistan aims to protect its citizens from fraudulent practices and safeguard their financial well-being.