A total of 173 digital lending applications have been granted approval to operate in Nigeria by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC). Out of these, 119 have been fully approved while 54 have conditional approval. The FCCPC began a registration drive in response to reports of loan apps harassing Nigerian citizens.
To regulate the digital lending space and protect citizens from predatory practices, the commission released the “Limited Interim Regulatory/ Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending 2022”, which made registration and approval mandatory for companies seeking to operate in the space. After multiple deadline extensions, the registration deadline was set for March 27, 2023.
Companies without FCCPC approval are not permitted to operate in the digital lending space. In August 2022, the FCCPC announced that a Limited Interim Regulatory/ Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending had been mutually adopted by an inter-agency Joint Regulatory and Enforcement Task Force.
The approved list of loan apps includes Branch International Financial Services Limited, Fairmoney Micro Finance Bank, Pivo Technology Limited, Renmoney Microfinance Bank Limited, Carbon Microfinance Bank Limited, and Creditwave Finance Limited. Loan apps without FCCPC approval are removed from the Google Play Store and cannot be downloaded.
In November, Google Play updated its Developer Program Policy, which required digital money lenders in Nigeria, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Kenya to comply with regulatory rules.
As of March, hundreds of unapproved loan apps were removed from the Play Store in Kenya. In February 2023, the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau revealed that a national committee comprising federal agencies was collaborating to curb the activities of illegal loan apps in the country.