Opera Software has made an inroad into Africa with a plethora of mobile services, and just recently, it has expanded into loan apps to help in bringing extra revenue, but the extortionate interest rates and repayment threshold may have resulted a violation of Google’s Play Store policies.
Opera currently runs three loan apps in Africa, namely OKash, OPay, and OPesa, which are supposedly aimed at alleviating the deficit of lending culture in those climes, but the vast majority of the loans are disbursed via the Android apps, which line of business poses a risk of disappearing or being severely impacted if Google ultimately takes a punitive action.
The supposed violation of Google’s Play Store policies, according to Hindenburg Research, stems from the fact that Opera describes the loans’ interest rates as between 12 per cent and 33 percent maximum per annum, which the actual rate is about 365 to 438 percent. And these figures are worsened if repayments come late by even a single day, raising it to about 876 per cent.
As can be seen from the Opera OPay loan description above, the loans are offered over 91 to 365 days, while the actual duration range from just seven days to a maximum of 29 days, which is significantly lower than the 60-day minimum contained in Google's policies page for such apps on its Play store.
Opera’s loan apps exhibited the same misleading description that looks to be rather in compliance, but obviously in violation of Google’s Terms, with the claimed loan length on the Google Play Store versus the actual loan length for Opera’s lending apps.
Albeit, the company refuted the Hindenburg claims in the Opera Investor Relations official website, stating that the report contains "numerous unsubstantiated statements, and misleading conclusions." Opera says it is aware of and has carefully reviewed the report and believes that the report contains misleading interpretations regarding the business of and events relating to the Company.
Opera has recently scaled multiple new mobile-focused businesses and has continued to post financial growths, and intends to continue leveraging its large user base of over 350 million users for additional growth.