In brief: Google is cracking down on apps that help consumers acquire high interest rate personal loans. In the US, the search giant now prohibits apps that enable personal loans with an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 36 percent or higher.
Google defines a personal loan as the lending of money from one individual, organization or entity to an individual consumer for any purpose aside from purchasing a fixed asset or education. A personal loan can include a payday loan, a peer-to-peer loan or a title loan but not a mortgage or a student loan.
Personal loan apps must, among other requirements, display the maximum APR as well as the minimum and maximum period for repayment. Google also doesn’t allow apps that require repayment in full within 60 days. The policy applies to apps that offer loans directly as well as third-parties that help to generate leads and connect lenders with consumers.
A Google spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that their policies are designed to protect users and keep them safe, adding that they expanded their financial-services policy to protect people from deceptive and exploitative personal loan terms.
Indeed, loans with such high interest rates often fall into the category of predatory lending in which the lender uses unfair or deceptive practices to take advantage of the borrower. Borrowing money, period, is a surefire way to throw a monkey wrench onto the path to financial freedom but doing so at an unreasonable interest rate only adds fuel to the fire.
If your back is against the wall and you’ve exhausted all other options, at least consider the interest rate before giving your John Hancock.
Masthead credit: Loan by one photo