Google recently wiped the Play Store clean of a 'deceptive and exploitative' category of apps1
ranging from spyware to subscription scams, stalkware, and good old fashioned adware apps, the search giant occasionally finds time to fight against services that might be best described as immoral rather than illegal. Case in point, a relatively new developer policy implemented in August that we're only now hearing about thanks to The Wall Street Journal.Still, when not busy eliminating the more obvious dangers,
This recently enforced rule explicitly bans apps for "personal loans where the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is 36% or higher", also requiring all such platforms looking to enter or stay in the Play Store to clearly "display their maximum APR, calculated consistently with the Truth in Lending Act (TILA)." Also known as the Consumer Credit Protection Act, TILA has been around since 1968 as a US federal law designed to promote the informed use of consumer credit by requiring disclosures about its terms and cost.
In recent years, a number of states have either imposed strict limits on the APR that so-called "payday lenders" can charge or outright prohibited payday loans. While Google obviously doesn't have the power or jurisdiction to outlaw companies that often charge annual percentage rates of well over 100 and even 300 percent, what the tech titan can certainly do is limit the visibility of these practices, deemed "deceptive and exploitative."
Of course, several payday loan providers have taken issue with that characterization, arguing that Google's Play Store policy changes are harming both "legitimate operators" (at least in certain states) and "consumers looking for legal loans." Interestingly, Apple has yet to impose a similar ban in its own App Store for iPhone and iPad users, despite pleas from advocacy groups like Color of Change that consider the payday loan practice to be "predatory."