Some digital lending apps on Wednesday issued clarifications as the industry entered a panic mode after the Centre banned nearly 138 gambling apps and 94 loan apps over “Chinese linkage” concerns.
One such platform, mPokket, said that the domain in the list issued by MeiTY — mpokket.en.aptoide.com — is a clear instance of “impersonation” and has no affiliation to mPokket whatsoever.
“Aptoide is a third-party app store with which we have no official or unofficial partnership. We suspect that it may be a proxy app on Aptoide and we are looking into it further. Blocking of such apps protects both the consumers and lenders. We at mPokket continue to bring the best service to our customers without any disruptions,” said the startup.
Some popular loan apps such as PayU’s buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) service LazyPay, Kissht, RupeeRedee and Faircent were also seen as part of a ‘partial’ ban list that was being floated around.
Sunny Mittal, VP-Compliance at RupeeRedee, said they haven’t received any official information from Google or government sources on banning the dubious version of the app.
“Having said that, we have no formal or informal partnership with Aptoide which is a third-party Android app store. We are speculating that it’s a proxy app on Aptoide. Blocking of the Aptoide link is a favourable outcome as for us, as our official website and Google Play Store is the primary source of trusted customer base,” Mittal said in a statement.
PayMe India said it is functional on Google PlayStore.
“There is a dubious app on Aptoide, which seems to have been blocked. We have received no communication from Google so far,” it added.
Following complaints against Chinese loan and betting apps, the IT Ministry began the process of banning 138 betting apps and 94 lending apps that had Chinese links, on the instructions of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) was recently instructed by the MHA to ban such apps, which operate through a third party link.
Sources said that all these apps were found violating Section 69 of the IT Act and contained materials which were deemed as threat to India’s sovereignty and integrity.
As per sources, these apps are used to trap financially strapped people in a debt trap, by increasing their interest on loans by up to 3,000 per cent.
The issue came to the fore after several cases of suicides by borrowers of these apps were reported from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.