Tech and Telecom

Pakistani “Scam” Online Loan Apps Removed From Google Play Store [Update]

Update: According to Barwaqt’s response to ProPakistani, the app was taken down for backend maintenance. They claim that the app was removed by their own team and that it will be back on Monday, 18 July 2022.

On the other hand, a Google spokesperson has confirmed the company’s involvement, saying, “After further investigation, we have found them non-compliant with our policy and have taken action.”

Barwaqt, a Pakistani finance app infamous for stealing user data and exploiting customers has finally been removed from the Google Play Store. It seems that numerous reports from the app’s unfortunate victims have finally been noticed.

Searching for the app on Play Store now shows that the link has been removed.

For those unaware, Barwaqt is a Pakistani app for online loans that offers multiple ways of receiving money. The company claims that customer information remains secure, but the app has been notoriously infamous for stealing personal data including phone numbers, names, email addresses, and more.

The government has also warned people against this app in the past. NTISB issued a statement against apps like Barwaqt and Olivecash. However, the lending app and the SECP have issued letters asking for a retraction of the official circular.

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) had cautioned digital lending Nonbank financial companies (NBFCs) of regulatory intervention if full disclosure and fair business practices are not ensured by the industry as a whole.

SECP recently called a zoom meeting of the chief executives of NBFCs engaged in digital lending to discuss recent media reports about exorbitant interest rates, inadequate disclosures, and coercive collection practices, purportedly being resorted to by lending platforms.

The Twitter thread below details the controversies the app has been involved in over time.

At the moment, the reason behind the app’s removal remains unclear, but it most likely has to do with mounting reports coming in from the fraudulent service’s victims.

Published by
Aasil Ahmed