Opera is known as the company that supplies their popular web browser with the same name. However, the Norwegian company also has an active fintech arm that serves loans to Africans at high interest rates.
They have two fintech apps that give loans at high interest rates to Kenyans. This include OKash and OPesa. Well, OPesa has mysteriously disappeared from the Play Store.
The disappearance of OPesa from the Play Store comes suspiciously after a report shows how badly Opera has been doing in virtually all avenues. Opera is known for its browsers and that is why pivoting to loan apps sounded like a good idea, at first.
However, Google made a drastic change last year. They decided to crack the whip on “predatory loan apps” on the Play Store by publishing new guidelines about them.
“We do not allow apps that promote personal loans which require repayment in full in 60 days or less from the date the loan was issued,” Google said in the new guidelines.
They also specified that loan apps should:
- Show their minimum and maximum period of repayment
- Display maximum annual percentage rate which includes interest rate plus fees and other costs for a year or similar other rate calculated consistently with local law.
- Show an example of the total cost of the loan, including all applicable fees.
In OPesa’s case, the loans are usually charged at roughly 1.28% a day and the repayment days were either 15 days, 22 days or 29 days depending on the loan. This means that the app violates Google’s guidelines and it could explain the disappearance. In OPesa’s case, this means their annual percentage rate was almost 468% and OKash was roughly 380%.
OPesa could return if they complied with Google’s guidelines like its sister app, Okash.
The interesting bit is that its sister lending app, OKash, has the same lending system and it is available on the PlayStore.
On further analysis, the app seems to have “complied” with Google’s guidelines and was last updated yesterday (19th January 2020).
They have shown their minimum and maximum period of repayment which is now 61 days and 365 days respectively.
They’ve also declared their interest rate to be 36% per annum which translates to 3% per month.
They now say that their “processing” fee is ranges between KES 100 and KES 600 whichis a one time charge.
They also gave an example where if they dispense KES 1,000, the processing fee will be 12.58% and the interest will be 5.35%. Okash’s example somehow ended up having a total of KES 1194 as the amount due when you ask for a KES 1,000 loan which gives it an effective 19.4% interest rate.
That sounds better on paper and a whole lot less when you asked for the loan before the new changes. However, when you check out the app, they still offer a majority of the loans at the same rates.
However, if you want to enjoy those “lower” charges, there is a 61 day repayment period for the KES 1,500 loan and it seems like not everyone is qualified.
Well it seems like Okash has “complied” on paper but the app pretty looks much the same and they still have the high interest rates. We wonder what Google will do next.
OPesa is back on the PlayStore. They have added the same “compliance” description as its sister app, Okash.