Lending platform KreditBee, Avail Finance, now part of Ola Money, and Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd are in the government’s crosshairs as authorities target hundreds of fintech and gaming platforms for their Chinese links or compliance issues.
These platforms feature in the target list prepared by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, a section of which YourStory has accessed. The ministry, on Sunday, ordered a ban on 94 lending apps and 138 betting apps for their ‘Chinese links’.
Among other prominent digital lending platforms in the ministry’s list are PayMe, Faircent and RupeerRedee.
Teen Patty and Rummy platforms AllRummyApp, GetRummyApp and NewRummyApp, instant loan apps Buddy Loan, True Balance, mPokket, PayRupik, Quikfinance and CashTM, and Delhi-based trading app VictorOption also feature in the Meity list accessed by YourStory.
Many of these apps continue to be available on Google Play store. CashTM, which was removed in 2021 following an order by the Reserve Bank of India, is now available on the Android mobile app marketplace Aptoide.
KreditBee’s $100-million Series D fundraise in January, at a nearly $700-million valuation, was led by US-headquartered Advent International. But among its earlier backers were Chinese investors Shunwei Capital and Xiaomi. In March 2021, KreditBee had said it had provided a complete exit to the two investors during its Series C fundraising round.
PayMe is backed by Singapore and Dubai-based angel investors.
Both KreditBee and PayMe possess non-banking financial company licences, and co-lending partnerships with lenders.
As for Avail Finance, Ola acquired it in April last year, only to shut the service and integrate it with its Ola Money platform last month.
YourStory has reached out to KreditBee, Ola, True Balance and Faircent for comments.
Meity’s ban has thrown the fintech lending industry in a tizzy, with the ministry also halting the operations of players without apparent Chinese links. The crackdown, as per sources, is also because of complaints of strongarm collection methods and other compliance issues.
Fintech founders are hoping to meet with Meity officials in Delhi today.
A fintech industry source said the government is wary of Chinese fund flow into the system via new-age digital lending apps, but other platforms are also being pulled up for not adhering to proper compliance standards “despite warnings”.
In January, Bhopal Cyber Crime Branch busted a gang involved in cheating borrowers through the Buddy Loan app, as per a report in ThePrint. Citing a senior police official, the report said Buddy Loan was a Chinese app developed in Thailand.
In 2020, Andhra Pradesh police listed a bunch of problematic digital instant loan apps, including CashTM, for harassing borrowers.
Edited by Feroze Jamal