Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has taken measures to protect the public from falling into debt traps of illegal loan apps. Collaborating with Google, Apple and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), SECP has succeeded in removal of 120 illegal loan apps that were previously available online.

The largely ignored scam of illegal personal loan apps came to light recently when last month, a resident of Rawalpindi, died by suicide after being threatened by a lender who gave him loan through one such app. This incident raised serious concerns about misuse of data privacy violations, and coercive recovery practices by the illegal loan apps. The SECP has not only tightened its regulatory framework for licensed Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) but has also initiated effective steps with the relevant authorities to shut down unauthorized and illegal loan apps.

SECP has also referred the 120 blocked apps to the FIA for further action in accordance with the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act of 2016. SECP regularly checks the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store for the presence of any illegal apps.


Recently Google has introduced Pakistan’s Personal Loan App Policy, according to which Google only allows SECP-approved Personal Loan Apps for placement on its Google Play Store.

Personal loan borrowers have been advised by SECP to obtain loans only from licensed NBFCs. The SECP’s regulatory framework for approved Apps requires transparent disclosure of fees, loan duration, instalments, and charges. Moreover, SECP has also initiated inspections of licensed NBFCs providing loans through Apps to verify that these are not engaged in miss-selling, breaches of data privacy, or coercive recovery practices etc.