Mobile money lending apps like Tala, Branch, Berry among many others have become quite popular in Kenya over the past two years. The latest data from the SimilarWeb analysis platform shows that of the 10 best free apps on the Google Play Store, 4 are apps in the finance category and all of them offer loans: Tala, Branch, OKash and OPesa.
Tala, for example, has been around for 5 years, partly under its old name, Mkopo Rahisi, and although it has a presence in several other countries around the world, including neighboring Tanzania, its Nairobi office is the largest, as it manages its 2.5 million local users.
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These apps have become very popular in the country due to the ease with which they can get a loan. No paperwork or lengthy legalization to process, just a simple automated analytical process to determine your credit score and that’s it.
Another reason why they have become popular is their relatively short repayment terms. Most of these apps will loan you out and need to be paid off within about a month. But that is changing very soon, thanks to a policy update from Google Play.
Google now wants all mobile loan apps to use its Play Store platform to ensure the loan repayment period is no less than 60 days. The new Google Play Developer Policy released on Wednesday gave affected businesses 30 days to comply.
“We do not allow applications that promote personal loans that require full repayment within 60 days or less from the date of loan issuance.”
At the moment, Branch and Tala are not yet complying with this new guideline, as the description of the two apps on the Google Play Store still indicates that their repayment terms are at least 4 weeks. As these apps and their developers only have 30 days to comply, it will be interesting to see how they go about implementing this. What happens to people who already have loans with these apps is also unclear. Will their repayment terms be adjusted to comply with the new directive?
It is also unclear how this new directive will affect the business model of these companies in the future. At the moment, we are still waiting for the official communication from these services and will update when we hear from them.
Source: Google Play Policy Update