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In what appears to be a fresh crackdown on digital lending apps in India, PayU’s LazyPay, and Vertex Growth and Brunei Investment backed Kissht are among the lenders who are impacted due to this latest directive from the government. MeitY recently blocked 138 betting apps, and 94 loan apps with links to China and alleged involvement in money laundering. It remains unclear if digital lenders like Kissht and LazyPay are part of the same list.
A number of prominent fintechs are facing a potential ban on their operations, after the Ministry of Electronics and Information & Technology (MeitY) included them in a list of digital lenders whose websites and applications are to be blocked in India, several sources privy to the information told CNBC-TV18.
In what appears to be a fresh crackdown on digital lending apps in India, PayU’s LazyPay, and Vertex Growth and Brunei Investment backed Kissht are among the lenders who are impacted due to this latest directive from the government.
MeitY recently blocked 138 betting apps, and 94 loan apps with links to China and alleged involvement in money laundering. It sent a list of digital lending apps to be taken off from the Google Play Store.
Google is currently evaluating the request, with plans to take action after its own review.
These businesses are among those on the list of banned apps
However, mPokket, in a statement to CNBC-TV18, said the domain name on this list (No. 13) has no affiliation to the company and is likely a proxy app on Aptoide, a third-party app store.
“The domain in the list issued by MeiTY this week, mpokket.en.aptoide.com, is a clear instance of impersonation and has no affiliation with mPokket whatsoever. Aptoide is a third-party app store with which we have no official or unofficial partnership. We suspect that it may be a proxy app on Aptoide and are looking into it further. Blocking of such apps protects both the consumer and lenders. We at mPokket continue to bring the best service to our customers without any disruptions," mPokket said in the statement.
RupeeRedee too said it had no formal partnership with Aptoide. “We haven’t received any official information from Google or government sources on banning the dubious version of the app. Having said that, we have no formal or informal partnership with Aptoide which is a third-party android app store. We are speculating that it’s a proxy app on Aptoide. Blocking of the Aptoide link is a favourable outcome as for us, our official website and Google Play Store is the primary source of trusted customer base," Sunny Mittal, VP (Compliance) at RupeeRedee, told CNBC-TV18.
In a meeting with officials from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday, Indian fintech lenders were assured that legitimate companies should not be worried.
The government officials informed the players that they would hold a review meeting with stakeholders if necessary and seek more information as required.
In a statement to CNBC-TV18, Kissht confirmed that its app is currently operating smoothly for customers across India and that they have not received any formal notification on the status of the app. "We are aware of the development and are seeking clarity from the concerned authorities. We are hopeful that this will be resolved soon without interrupting services for our existing users," it added.
“Due to unavoidable circumstances our Website and App are currently unavailable via a few Internet Service Providers. Please be assured that we are doing everything to resolve the issue,” LazyPay had said in a response to CNBC-TV18’s query.
Several fintech lenders CNBC-TV18 spoke to expressed shock and anger at the move, stating that established players with no Chinese connections found themselves looking at a potential ban for “no justifiable reasons,” and that this would hurt collections, and their customers’ trust.
“We will seek that this so-called ban be removed, and things restored immediately in the meeting with officials tomorrow,” said the founder of a digital lending app who did not wish to be named.