They suggest that this way Opera compensates for the low profits of the main business.
Opera browser developer has launched four Android applications for microloans in India, Kenya and Nigeria (CashBean, OKash, OPay and OPesa), informs Engadget with reference to study Hindenburg Research.
The conditions for issuing loans in the applications themselves are unreliable: for example, they say that the maximum interest rate is 33% per annum. But in fact, rates rose to 438% (in OPesa), the publication claims.
In addition, applications offer loans for a period of 91 to 365 days, but the real repayment period is on average 15 days, maximum 29 days (OKash). If the borrower has delayed payment by one day, interest can grow up to 876%, the newspaper writes.
Also, applications get access to the contacts of borrowers to call and write to his family and friends in case of delayed payments.
In October 2019, Google banned Place “false and insecure” microloan applications in your store. In particular, applications that offer loans with an annual interest rate above 36% and a repayment term of less than 60 days.
Researchers suggest that this way Opera compensates for the low profits of the main business. In Opera’s reports, the proceeds from microloans are described in the Fintech segment – in 2018 it did not bring money, and in the third quarter it gave the company 42% of all revenue, the authors write.
At the time of writing, Google did not respond to a publication request. If the researchers are right, then Google will remove the application from the Play Store, and Opera’s reputation will be destroyed, the publication claims.
Updated at 18:20. Opera told vc.ru that the Hindenburg report contains “a huge number of errors, unconfirmed statements and false conclusions and interpretations regarding the company’s business and events related to it.”