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Google Play Store Boots Payday Loan Apps

Payday loans, Google, Google Play, Apps, search, loans

High-interest consumer loans — often known as payday advances — are now banned from having apps on the Google Play store, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Sunday (Oct. 13). 

Apple doesn’t have a similar ban, but the company told the WSJ that it routinely reviews its App Store rules to “address new or emerging issues.” Lenders in the payday loan space are not happy about the move, though, saying they would have to leave the business or slash rates. 

CEO Mary Jackson of Online Lenders Alliance told the WSJ that payday loan practices were allowed, and that the ban hurts “legitimate operators,” as well as customers looking for “legal loans.”

Google banned apps charging 36 percent or more, which now puts the tech giant in the middle of the overall fight against payday loans. Before the app ban, Google — owned by Alphabet — started prohibiting payday loan ads from appearing in its search engine. 

“Our Google Play developer policies are designed to protect users, and keep them safe,” a Google spokesman told the WSJ. “We expanded our financial services policy to protect people from deceptive and exploitative personal loan terms.”

California and Ohio are among states that have started implementing measures to stop high-interest loans. The Obama administration had initiated policies to curb predatory lenders. However, the Trump’s administration has been trying to reverse those laws.  

On Thursday (Oct. 10), California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law mandating a 36 percent interest-rate cap on consumer loans of $2,500 to $10,000, the article said. Among the lenders affected by the new restriction is CURO Financial Technology Corp.

The battle over payday lending — specifically, how tough U.S. federal rule will be in governing the industry — is heating up as an important deadline looms. Letters favorable to the payday lending industry are reportedly flooding in to authorities before the May 15 cutoff for public comment regarding a proposed policy change.

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