Opera is allegedly offering predatory loans through Android apps, running four Android apps aimed at India, Kenya, and Nigeria. These apps include CashBean, OKash, OPay, and OPesa. CashBean is the one that Opera seems to be offering in the Indian market. The app offers “instant personal loans” with minimal documentation. The interesting thing to note here is that all these apps seem to be “in direct violation of Google Play Store policies”. Taking a closer look at the Google Play Store policies, apps are forbidden from offering predatory loans and deceptive descriptions. Also Read - Opera Mini introduces offline file sharing feature
Opera predatory loans platforms details
Inspecting the CashBean app, it takes three steps and 10 minutes to get the loan. According to a report by Hindenburg Research, the company’s losses in browser revenue have apparently pushed it to create such apps. These apps also give short payment windows along with astronomical interest rates of 365-876 percent. All these things are in violation of the latest Google Play Store rules. “The company is aware of and has carefully reviewed the report published by the short seller on January 16, 2020,” the company said in a statement shared with IANS. Also Read - Opera mobile browsers now support built-in protection against bitcoin mining
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“The company believes that the report contains numerous errors, unsubstantiated statements, and misleading conclusions and interpretations regarding the business and events relating to the firm.” “The firm has recently launched and scaled multiple new businesses and has continued to post strong financial results, and intends to continue leveraging its well-known brand and large user base of more than 350 million users for additional growth. It remains committed to maintaining high standards of corporate governance and constantly evolving our products, practices, and governance,” the statement added. Also Read - Opera Mini browser for iOS updated with AI-powered news feed and more
Opera is not doing well in the era of Google Chrome dominance. A China-based investor group purchased the company and turned in a public company in mid-2017. The listing for ‘OKash’ also stated its loans range from 91-365 days (the page now says 61-365 days). However, an email response stated it only offered loans from 15-29 days. This number is significantly lower than the 60-day minimum enforced by Google. The report from Android Police also noted that all other Opera apps were also in violation to varying extents. The report also noted that the app made calls and sent text messages to people in the user contact list. This was done when the user was late to repay the loan. These calls threatened legal action or even placed the borrower on a credit blacklist.
With inputs from IANS.