Opera reportedly behind predatory loan apps as its browser struggles against Chrome

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

The report from Hindenburg Research claims that Opera runs four Android apps—CashBean, OKash, OPay, and OPesa—that are aimed at the “developing” markets of India, Kenya, and Nigeria.

Update: Opera has refuted Hindenburg claims in their Investor Relations site, saying the report contains "numerous errors, unsubstantiated statements, and misleading conclusions."

While Opera describes the loans’ interest rates as being between 12 percent and 33 percent maximum per year, the actual rate is 365 to 438 percent. Those figures are even worse if repayments are late by just one day, rising to 876 percent.

Additionally, the loans are offered over 91 to 365 days, but the actual lengths range from just seven days (for OPay) to a maximum of 29 days for OKash—all significantly lower than the 60-day minimum Google has in place for apps on its store.

As unscrupulous as the apps seem, the Play Store reviews make them sound even worse. Some of the apps scraped phone numbers from borrowers’ phones, texting or calling them when payments were late in an attempt to get customers to pay—a practice that stopped last year as it’s illegal. Some of the messages threatened legal action or putting a borrower on a credit blacklist.

One of the apps has already been removed from the Play Store, and more could follow, which would have a huge effect on the company’s bottom line. Since the report’s release, Opera’s stock price has dropped from $9 to a low of $6.88.

Update: Opera has responded to the report on its investor website, claiming it contains "numerous errors, unsubstantiated statements, and misleading conclusions and interpretations."

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Morphine Child

TS Booster
I used Opera for years until they decided to remove 90% of features that made it what it was. They did introduce those features back through the years, but at that time I was already in Google's ecosystem.

Shame really that they had to come to this...
 

veLa

TS Evangelist
That's a shame. I keep Opera as a back-up option after Chrome and Firefox respectively. The built-in VPN really stood out to me as a privacy feature.
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
WOW ..... looks like Opera really stepped into it this time .... just another result of the pursuit of the "All Mighty Dollar" .....
 

SolarisGuru

TS Booster
Once upon a time I really like Opera. I stopped using Opera when it was sold off to another company. I'm more inclined to use Vivaldi now.