In a digitized world, smartphones have revolutionized our lives. It’s now simpler than ever to carry out a multitude of tasks at the click of a button, including securing loans.
As advantageous as this might be, it has also exposed people to various cyber scams and frauds, one of them being the increase of fake loan apps.
Nigeria has seen a surge in such scams, making it imperative to be on guard. We’ve decided to do a comprehensive review of the fake loan apps in Nigeria that one must avoid to safeguard themselves from fraudulent practices.
This blog post features an exhaustive list of fake loan apps in Nigeria that you should beware of in 2023. So, as you try to navigate the waters of financial lending on digital platforms, here’s your map to ensure a scam-free experience.
Let’s journey together to unravel these fraudulent applications designed to swindle innocent users out of their hard-earned income.
What are Fake Loan Apps?
Fake loan apps are deceitful platforms developed by fraudsters aiming to scam individuals seeking instant loans.
Posing as legitimate lending platforms, these applications typically ask users to provide sensitive information such as credit card details, bank account numbers, and other personal identification documents, promising quick and hassle-free loans in return.
Once the unsuspecting users enter these details, fraudsters gain access to their personal and financial information and use it for illegal activities like withdrawing funds from their accounts without consent, identity theft, or selling their information to other scammer networks.
Moreover, these fraudulent loan apps charge high processing fees and interest but never provide any loan, leading the user to financial loss. In some cases, they also manipulate users by threatening them over calls and messages for loan repayment that was never disbursed.
Furthermore, these apps often bypass Google Play Store’s security checks, making it easier for them to reach a wider audience.
In essence, fake loan apps exploit the needs of individuals facing financial challenges. Therefore, individuals should be wary and vigilant while installing and using loan apps and only trust apps provided by registered and legitimate financial institutions.
Check out this article for a more reliable loan – 22 Most Reliable Loan Apps in Nigeria with Low-Interest Rates in 2023
The Dangers of Fake Loan Apps in Nigeria
In Nigeria, the growing incidence of fraudulent loan apps has become a source of concern. These unregulated mobile apps pose grave risks, enticing desperate borrowers with quick access to funds and then ensnaring them in an exploitative cycle of debt.
While their allure is clear – rapid processing and disbursement, limited paperwork, and no collateral – their darker consequences are profound.
Often these fake loan apps have excessive interest rates, undisclosed charges, and unreasonable repayment terms. These digital platforms often use deceptive advertising to trap unwitting customers.
Moreover, they usually have poor data protection measures, exposing users’ confidential financial and personal information to hackers.
Unauthorized access to such data could lead to serious crimes such as identity theft, fraudulent transactions, and cyberattacks. The incessant harassment by these fake lenders, leveraging on the fear of social shame, often results in psychological distress.
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How to Spot Fake Loan Applications in Nigeria
The alarming rate at which people are falling victim to fraudulent loan apps in Nigeria is cause for concern. Such fraudulent practices leave innocent people with financial and emotional trauma.
Hence, every smartphone user needs to know how to identify fake loan apps to avoid becoming a victim.
Below are signs on how to identify fake loan apps in Nigeria:
1. Absence of Physical Address
One significant sign of a fake loan app in Nigeria is the absence of a physical address. Reliable financial institutions usually have a physical address that can be visited for transactions or inquiries.
Any loan application platform without this detail raises a red flag, as it’s a common strategy used by scammers to avoid legal consequences. If the loan app doesn’t display its address or the location can’t be verified, then there’s a high chance the app is fake and untrustworthy.
2. Unrealistic Interest Rates
Another way to identify a fake loan app is unrealistic interest rates. Genuine financial institutions usually have regulated, industry-standard interest rates. If a loan app promises exceedingly high returns or unbelievably low interest rates, it’s probably fraudulent.
Legitimate companies maintain a sustainable business model and won’t make impossible promises. Overpromising could indicate the intention of luring unsuspecting customers into a trap. Thus, customers should always scrutinize interest rates and avoid engaging with apps that offer unrealistic deals.
3. Insufficient Online Presence
The credibility of a loan app can be evaluated by examining its online presence. If a loan app lacks a professional website, detailed contact information, or presence on major social media platforms, this raises a red flag.
Scammers usually prefer to remain as hidden as possible to avoid being traced, hence their digital footprints are usually negligible or non-existent. Always verify the legitimacy of a loan app through their online channels before transacting.
4. No Reviews or Negative Reviews
User reviews are crucial for judging the credibility of a loan app. Apps with no user reviews or a multitude of negative ones indicate potential fraudulence. Legitimate lenders usually have several reviews highlighting the benefits and disadvantages of their services.
Therefore, carefully pursue reviews before opting for a loan app, and be cautious of companies that only have overly positive, scripted reviews.
5. Lack of Customer Service
The availability and responsiveness of customer service significantly differentiate genuine lenders from fraudulent ones. Reputable lenders usually provide dedicated customer support to address concerns and complaints. However, scam apps often lack such systems.
You might experience difficulty in getting through to them, receive unclear information, or be completely unable to reach any customer support. A loan app with unresponsive or non-existent customer service should be considered a warning sign.
7. High Processing Fees
Real loan applications should not request excessive fees for processing your loan request. Be skeptical of any loan apps that ask for high upfront charges or processing fees.
Legitimate loan platforms usually deduct these fees from the loan amount, and the fees are reasonable. Scammers often demand such exorbitant fees as a tactic to rob individuals of their hard-earned money.
8. Requests for Personal Information
Genuine loan applications only require basic personal and financial information necessary to process the loan.
Be cautious with loan apps that ask for detailed or unnecessary personal information, such as passwords, bank PINs, or sensitive information that is generally not required.
Fraudulent loan apps often gather such information to carry out unlawful transactions or steal identity.
Read more for a collateral-free loan – Top 17 SME Loans Without Collateral in Nigeria | 2023 List
List of Fake Loan Apps in Nigeria
The advancement of technology has given rise to several conveniences, including quick online loans which can be accessed at any time and any place. However, it has also opened doors to scams and fraudulent activities. Numerous fake loan apps have emerged that have resulted in countless people in Nigeria falling victim to their scams.
Here is the list of fake loan apps operating in Nigeria that people should avoid:
Before being seized by Google, LCredit was one of the bad loan apps in Nigeria hosted on the Google Play store, with thousands of users and downloads.
As a leading service company, the platform has no internet presence or real office address. Google has withdrawn LCredit from the Play Store. The phony loan app was found to have broken any of Google’s operational policies.
Google Play Protect also discovered that the app was engaged in various malicious activities such as spying on its users’ phone contacts, images, recordings, messages, and other personal information. This is blatantly against Google’s privacy policies.
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2. 9ja Cash
Another dubious loan app to avoid is 9ja Cash. The app is owned and operated by Sokoloan, a lending app that has been banned by Nigerian regulators.
9ja Cash has all the hallmarks of a phony loan app written all over it. The site charges an exorbitant interest rate on each loan and limits loan tenure to 7 days rather than the required minimum of 60 days.
They also malign their borrowers by sending threats and libelous messages to the contacts on your phone. An act that violates the privacy of users.
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NairaPlus is most likely the number one loan app that everyone should avoid. It is one of the quick loan applications that always appear in advertising offering tempting loans until you give them a go.
If you decide to deal with them, you should be aware that they have no concern for their users’ data privacy and that you should expect blackmailing and threatening emails if you fail to repay even for a single day.
You can also explore other businesses to start when you have a higher budget like 500k and above through this article; 35 Profitable Businesses to Start With 1 Million Naira in Nigeria.
Sokoloan is one of the most popular quick loan applications in Nigeria, but it is also one of the worst apps to borrow from.
Based on our study, we learned that Sokoloan has roughly three other mobile loan apps that provide the same service under different names.
Soko Loan has a horrible reputation, and it is one of the most unprofessional platforms available.
The platform does not disclose its fees until you apply for a loan, and you have only seven days to return the debt. It lasts about 6 days.
Soko Loan was punished by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) after a large number of consumers denounced them for invading their privacy and issuing threats and obscenities even when they had no debt.
9Credit is a mobile loan app that operates in Nigeria, reportedly designed to facilitate quick and easy loan transactions for users.
However, concerns have been raised about its credibility. Users have reported being deceived by fraudulent tactics, such as requesting bank details under pretenses, unwarranted charges, and other unethical activities.
With a suspiciously high interest rate and negative user reviews, 9Credit appears to be a predatory lending app exploiting financially vulnerable individuals.
Authorities advise against using such platforms and recommend individuals seek reliable and regulated financial institutions for loans.
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6. Cash Wallet
Cash Wallet is yet another rogue app that has made its way onto our list. It’s a loan app that pretends to offer out loans but extorts loan applicants unlawfully.
There are reports from customers that claim Cash Wallet merely grabs your data and charges your card without providing you with a loan.
You can also explore other businesses to start when you have a higher budget like 500k through this article; 17 Profitable Business to Start with 500k in Nigeria.
PalmCash is another loan app in Nigeria that advertises heavily on the internet. The platform claims to provide loans to persons in need of emergency finances, but it uses crude methods to collect those amounts.
PalmCash does not have a traceable office address and operates as a faceless corporation. The site also lacks a customer service representative with whom you can speak if you have any problems. Fortunately, Google has taken the necessary steps to remove this app from the Play Store.
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ForNaira is a loan app that has gone rogue in Nigeria. The platform purports to provide people with quick and cheap loans without collateral, but all it does is collect their data and information and use it to malign them.
ForNaira is one of the phony apps that has been permanently withdrawn and blacklisted from the Google Play store.
EasyMoni is one of the most ineffective apps on this list. If there is a disagreement, the lending platform is infamous for threatening and shaming loan seekers.
In addition, the site has routinely violated customer data privacy. Customers complained to Google, and the platform was withdrawn from the Google Play store. Surprisingly, EasyMoni has now repackaged itself as EasyCash to return to the Play Store.
Easy Cash is owned and run by an anonymous Chinese and Hong Kong firm with no physical address in Nigeria.
GoToCash is just another phony loan app that engages in illicit business practices with its users. GotoCash charges illegal service fees to customers who seek a loan and have an exorbitant interest rate.
GotoCash, like every other app on this list, is fond of issuing threats to customers and abusing their user privacy, which is why Google took action against the platform as well.
The app is one of the phony loan apps that Google removed from the Play Store on November 28, 2021.
Xcredit is a digital lending platform operating in Nigeria. They claim to provide fast and easy online loans to customers, without the need for collateral or extensive documentation.
However, there are allegations that Xcredit uses unethical debt recovery practices, and the app is reputed for its hidden charges and high interest rates.
CashLion, another loan application platform in Nigeria, offers microloans to individuals and businesses.
Even though they claim to provide swift services and loan approvals, many users have raised concerns about the high cost of repayments.
Some people also reported unexpected deductions of airtime credit, indicative of potential scam operations.
GoCash is a popular loan application in Nigeria. They boast quick loan processing with minimal documentation required.
However, allegations of unfair loan practices, excessive charges, and violations of users’ privacy have been associated with the app.
Many have criticized GoCash’s automatic contact list access and unethical debt recovery practices. They’ve been cautioned as a potentially harmful app by numerous users due to these red flags.
Icoin is a bogus loan application rampant in Nigeria. While the platform purports to offer instant loans with competitive interest rates, it often uses fraudulent tactics to extract excessive charges.
Users have reported threats of public humiliation and even harassment if repayments are delayed. Therefore, it’s recommended to stay cautious while dealing with this app.
EasyCredit is another sham loan application causing havoc in Nigeria. While it presents a quick loan solution to cash-strapped individuals, it employs illegitimate techniques, such as hidden charges and higher interest rates, exploiting their vulnerability.
Complaints regarding data privacy infringement have also been reported by users.
16. Speedy Choice
Speedy Choice, known for its speedy loan disbursement promise, is sadly not the perfect choice for loan seekers in Nigeria.
Despite their promising terms and conditions, numerous users have been victims of its unethical practices, such as steep charges, harassment, and violation of data privacy.
Its enticing promises often lure innocent individuals into its deceptive trap, leading to financial chaos.
BorrowNow is a fraudulent loan app operating in Nigeria, claiming to offer easy, fast, and reliable loans to its users.
Unfortunately, the app is reported to collect user’s sensitive data with no loan approval. It displays high interest rates, and hidden charges and uses coercive measures in loan recovery.
LionCash is another counterfeit loan application that exploits the financial needs of Nigerians. Though promising instant, hassle-free loans with low-interest rates, it rarely disburses funds.
LionCash also threatens its users and accesses their contacts for unauthorized communication.
Nkash is notorious for its deceptive services. This illegal loan app allegedly conducts unlawful transactions, placing its users under unnecessary financial stress. Users report never receiving loans despite providing sensitive personal information.
They also criticize the app’s invasive methods for loan recovery. Unfortunately, many users fall victim to Nkash’s sham because of the allure of easy credit.
CycleCash is one of the fraudulent loan apps prevalent in Nigeria. This app deceitfully offers quick, hassle-free loans without collateral or any credit history.
Despite enticing offers and easy processes, numerous complaints have been lodged against this app due to hidden fees, high interest rates, and intrusive collection tactics.
Several users reported their credit scores being affected negatively due to unexplained reasons. It’s advised to be wary of such deceptive practices and avoid the app altogether.
Cashrain is another fraudulent loan app duping innocent Nigerians. Users reported excessive hidden charges, unclear repayment terms, and automatic deductions from linked accounts without prior consent.
They lure users with promises of quick loan approvals, but once the user is caught in their cycle, they resort to unethical practices like sending messages to contacts in your phone book for repayment of loans. Customers are strongly advised to avoid such predatory apps.
Migoloan, while promising quick loans and flexible repayments, has earned notoriety in Nigeria as a deceitful loan app.
Its tactics involve providing initial loans promptly but later entrapping the users with exorbitant interest rates, sudden increases in repayment amounts, and abrupt negative reporting to credit agencies.
Multiple users reported the app automatically debiting money from their accounts without notifying them first. Owing to these disreputable practices, users must steer clear of this application.
GGMoney is one of the controversial loan apps circulating in Nigeria. They lure customers by offering instant loan approvals without collateral or paperwork. However, they’re notorious for their sky-high interest rates and exploitative recovery practices.
Reports of privacy infringement and intimidation are prevalent among GGMoney users, casting a huge shadow over their credibility.
The lack of regulation in these digital loan platforms exposes vulnerable individuals to serious financial exploitation.
PalmCredit is another such application operating in Nigeria, known for instant cash loans without the need for collateral.
Despite being popular for quick, hassle-free loan processes, many users express concerns over hidden charges and exorbitant interest rates.
More alarmingly, PalmCredit has been criticized for harassing borrowers and accessing personal contact information, which they use to pressure payment from customers. Therefore, despite its easy accessibility and popularity, it’s imperative to understand the possible risks before getting involved with PalmCredit.
All of these loan applications are fake and should be avoided in Nigeria. They have been removed from the Google Play Store in addition to being outlawed by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
What To Do To Verify The Legitimacy of a Loan App
While these applications have made loan application procedures effortless and hassle-free, the boom has also invited numerous scam loan apps and unscrupulous actors.
A simple Google Play or App Store search for loan apps will give you dozens of results, but how can you be sure that the one you are about to install and provide your personal and financial details is a genuine lender and not a potential scam?
Here are a few measures you can take to ensure you’re dealing with a legitimate loan app:
1. Research The Lender
Start with a simple Google search on the company providing the app. Reputable loan companies will have an official website and reviews from past users or professional analysts.
Check these out thoroughly and pay particular attention to the negative reviews or ratings.
2. Check The Lender’s Registration and Licenses
Before giving away your sensitive data, ensure the lender is legally registered to offer loans. The lenders should have the necessary regulatory permissions from bodies like the Financial Conduct Authority.
Legitimate lenders would generally provide this information in the app description, on their official website, or upon request.
Also, make sure that all the terms of the loan are clear. Beware of lenders who offer too-good-to-be-true rates or don’t adequately explain the terms.
An authentic lender will have transparent and clear terms, providing you with all the necessary details on the interest rate, the repayment schedule, late payment penalties, etc.
4. Examine Contact Information
Every reputable loan app should provide accurate contact information. Ensure the lender provides an address and a customer service contact.
Scam loan apps may not offer contact details or if they do, it may be an international number or lead to an answering service, not a real person.
5. Secure Application
An authentic loan app should offer a secure application process. The web or the application link should be ‘https://’ and not ‘http://’, the ‘s’ indicates the security protocol it follows.
It means your data is being transmitted over a secured, encrypted connection. It aids in preventing sensitive information from entering into the hands of the wrong people.
6. Beware of Upfront Fee
Reputable loan apps or lenders will never ask for a fee upfront. It is not standard industry practice, and such requests are a strong indicator that you are dealing with a scam.
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Potential Risks of Using Fake Loan Apps
While several legitimate companies are operating in this sector, it has also attracted numerous fraudsters looking to capitalize on unsuspecting victims in need of quick cash. Fake loan apps pose various potential risks, some of which are explored below.
The rise of technology has revolutionized almost every sector of life, including financial transactions. There is no denying that loan apps have simplified our lives.
You can request a loan in seconds, anywhere and anytime, thanks to mobile loan apps. However, there’s a growing concern over fake loan apps, as they could pose serious threats to users.
1. Privacy Breach
The first risk of using fake loan apps is privacy breaches. To process your loan application, such apps will require you to provide sensitive information, such as your name, bank details, address, and employment details.
These untrustworthy apps may sell or misuse this information, leading to serious privacy breaches.
2. Identity Theft
Following the above, identity theft is a serious potential risk when using fake loan apps.
By providing your sensitive details to these unverified apps, you could be leaving yourself vulnerable to cyber-criminals who may steal your identity and commit fraudulent acts.
3. Monetary Loss
These illegitimate apps often promise quick loans with minimal documentation. However, once you provide your details, you might find unexplained charges deducted from your account.
Worse still, these apps may rob you of your money entirely without providing the loan you had requested.
4. Legal Problems
Fake loan apps could potentially put you into legal trouble. In some cases, these apps are involved in illegal practices and your association with them may attract unwanted attention from law enforcement.
5. Credit Score Impact
Using fake loan apps could also negatively impact your credit score. If you’ve been tricked into a fraudulent transaction, you could be liable for the repayment of the non-existent loan, which could in turn impact your credit rating, making future loan applications tough.
6. Phishing Attacks
Cyber-criminals often use fake loan apps as bait for phishing attacks. Once you enter your credentials, the app captures this information, providing the attackers with all they need to gain access to your personal accounts.
What Should You Do If You Downloaded a Fake Loan App?
While collecting loans, fake loan applications can be tedious, irritating, and embarrassing. They message them, harassing and threatening them because they already have access to your contact information.
Some even go so far as to defame and deface you, causing significant harm. As a result, you should exercise caution when installing apps that require access to your contact list and other sensitive information.
To avoid those apps, do not download or receive any app that you are dubious of. And, if you do take out a loan, make sure you pay it back on time to prevent embarrassment and difficulties.
If you already have the app, simply navigate to the ‘Settings’ menu on your phone. Click ‘Apps,’ then ‘Permissions,’ to proceed. Select the app from which you want to remove permission.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are fake loan apps common in Nigeria?
Factors such as high poverty levels, low financial literacy rates, lack of stringent digital fraud laws, and a burgeoning smartphone user population contribute to the proliferation of fake loan apps in Nigeria.
What can I do if I’ve fallen for a scam from a fake loan app?
Report the issue to Nigeria’s Consumer Protection Council (CPC) or the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), contact your bank, change your bank details if possible, and alert your contacts about the app.
Are there any genuine loan apps in Nigeria?
Yes, there are several genuine loan apps in Nigeria, like FairMoney, Palmcredit, Branch, Aella Credit, etc., regulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and have good reputations.
No doubt avoiding any of the above-mentioned fraudulent loan apps is the first step toward safety. Fake loan applications are a rising concern in Nigeria today, and it is critical to be aware of the dangers they pose.
Many fraudulent lending applications promise quick and cheap loans with no collateral required, but they frequently charge exorbitant interest rates and hidden costs, resulting in large financial losses.
They also require sensitive personal information that could be utilized for fraudulent operations such as identity theft.
To avoid falling victim to bogus lending apps, it is critical to thoroughly study loan applications before utilizing them. When using loan apps, it is critical to prioritize one’s financial well-being and take the required measures.