Mobile Money lending apps like Tala, Branch, Berry among many others have become rather popular in Kenya over the past two years. The latest data from analytics platform SimilarWeb shows that out of the top 10 free apps on the Google Play Store, 4 are apps from the finance category and all of them offer loans: Tala, Branch, OKash and OPesa.
Tala, for instance, has been around for the last 5 years, partly under its previous name, Mkopo Rahisi, and while it has operations in several other countries around the world, including in neighbouring Tanzania, its Nairobi office is the largest, as it handles its 2.5 million local user base.
These apps have become very popular in the country because of how easy it is to secure a loan with them. No paper-work or lenghy legalise to deal with, just a simple automated analytical process to determine your credit score and that is it.
Another reason they have become popular is their relatively short repayment terms. Most of these apps will loan you and need you to repay within a month or so. But that is changing very soon, thanks to an update to Google Play’s policy.
Google now wants all mobile loan apps using its Play Store platform to ensure the repayment period for loans is not below 60 days. The new Google Play Developer Policy published Wednesday gave affected companies 30 days to comply.
“We do not allow apps that promote personal loans which require repayment in full in 60 days or less from the date the loan is issued.”-Google
At the moment, Branch and Tala are yet to comply with this new directive as both app’s description on the Google Play Store still indicate that their repayment periods is at least 4 weeks. As these apps and their developers have just 30 days to comply, it will be interesting to see how they go about implementing this. Also unclear is what happens to people who already have loans with these apps. Will their repayment periods be adjusted to comply with the new directive?
Also unclear is how this new directive will affect the business model of these companies moving forward. At the moment we are still waiting on official communication from these services and we shall update when we hear from them.
Source: Google Play Policy Update