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Business News/ Money / Personal Finance/  Fake loan apps: What should investors do to protect themselves from these frivolous lending apps?
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Fake loan apps: What should investors do to protect themselves from these frivolous lending apps?

In fiscal 2023, there were 1,062 complaints against such lending apps. Google removed 134 fake loan apps from its Play Store in a week in September 2023 after series of complaints made against them. A dozen of those loan apps had one lakh downloads and 14 had over 50,000 downloads.

It is vital to cross verify the claims made by the app on its website. So, just because an app claims that is registered with a large NBFC should not be taken on the face value Premium
It is vital to cross verify the claims made by the app on its website. So, just because an app claims that is registered with a large NBFC should not be taken on the face value

There is no denying the fact that raising small loans on a lending app is a cakewalk.  However, some of these apps are not credible and can abuse your financial data and privacy to dupe you. So, it is imperative to be confident of the app’s credibility before jumping the gun.

In fiscal 2023, there were 1,062 complaints against such lending apps. The Finance ministry had shared the data in Lok Sabha in July last year. In fact, Google removed 134 fake loan apps from its Play Store in one week in September 2023 after a series of complaints were made against them. 

Strangely, 12 of these fake loan apps had one lakh downloads and 14 had over 50,000 downloads.

One would wonder as to why one has to knock on the doors of a loan app when one could approach a bank or an NBFC for the same?

To this, Neeraj Gupta, managing director, Branch International, a personal finance app and a registered NBFC, says the borrowers who are refused a loan by banks usually approach these apps while there could be some common customers as well. 

ALSO READ: RBI should step up efforts to control illegal loan apps

“Average profile for a lending app is riskier since the borrower may have been declined by a bank, which is why the interest rates charged by fintech apps are higher. We give loans faster, we can do fast approval and disbursal and we can even give 2,000 cash to meet mismatch in cash flow," he says.

“In India, regulations are there and fintech players have to catch up with them. In 2022, RBI cracked down on several Chinese apps. However, we lend on our balance sheet and therefore, more credible. and keep investors confident intact," he adds.

Before seeking loan from an app, make note of the following:

1. Affiliation to NBFC: First of all, borrowers should check which NBFC does the app belong to. The list of NBFCs is available on RBI’s website here.

2. Check the claims: It is vital to cross verify the claims made by the app on its website. So, just because an app claims that it is part of a famous NBFC then the claim must not be believed on the face value.

3. Downloads and reviews: It is also advisable to see how many  downloads of this app have been done and what do the users say about the app. 

If there are millions of downloads and users have mostly positive comments then it reflects positively on the app. But it is vital to be mindful of the fact that merely having a high number of downloads does not testify to an app's credibility. 

A dozen fake loan apps banned by Google from its Play Store in July 2023 had more than one lakh downloads and 14 had over 50,000 downloads.

4. Similar name: At times, fake loan apps use a name similar to that of a reputable brand in order to misguide borrowers. For instance, one fake app was named Kreditbe named after a genuine app KreditBee. The former used loan sharks to harass borrowers, one of whom even committed suicide, Al Jazeera reported.  

5. Customer care mechanism: There should be a proper customer care mechanism and it should be shared on the app before the customer gets the KYC done.

 

 

 

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Published: 25 Jan 2024, 10:17 AM IST
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