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Whitelist of approved digital lending apps sent to app stores: Finance Ministry

A whitelist of legal apps is a significant step because it effectively disallows any lending app that is not approved by the RBI.

The Indian government has sent a whitelist of approved digital lending apps to app stores (like Google Play Store and Apple App Store), the Finance Ministry revealed on February 7 in response to a parliamentary question. "Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has furnished the list of Digital Lending Apps (DLAs) being used by Regulated Entities (REs) of RBI to the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), which in turn, has shared the list with respective intermediary (App Stores) and requested them to ensure that only the apps figuring in the list are hosted on their app stores," the Finance Ministry stated. The Finance Ministry had first indicated its plans for such a whitelist back in September 2023 but didn't provide any updates thereafter. It is not clear when exactly the IT Ministry sent the list to app stores and whether the app stores have acted upon it. We also don't know which apps feature on this whitelist. MediaNama has filed an RTI requesting more details. Why does this matter: Unauthorised digital lending apps have flooded the app stores and they target vulnerable Indian borrowers, charging them exorbitant interest rates, and resorting to extortion and blackmail tactics to collect repayments. In light of this, the Indian government issued digital lending guidelines in August 2022 that address some concerns, but a whitelist of legal apps is a far more significant step because it effectively disallows any lending app that is not approved by the RBI. RBI sought details from regulated entities to make…

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