Opera resorts to questionable loan apps as browser market share tanks

Back in the days when phones weren't exactly smart, the only way people could browse the Web was often through Opera. In the age of smartphones and Google Chrome, however, Opera has become almost a legacy, a legacy that might soon be tarnished by the company's own actions. It turns out that Opera is using what can only be described as predatory loan apps on Android to make a profit but could, in turn, get it banned from Google Play Store for good.

It might come as a surprise that Opera would actually have such apps in the first place. Its recent attempts to push its web browser have revolved around built-in VPN features, cryptocurrency, and privacy protection. While these loan apps traced back to Opera don't exactly violate those, they employ other undesirable methods in a desperate attempt to make money.

These loan apps naturally target "developing" markets like Kenya with OKash and OPesa, India with CashBean, and Nigeria with OPay. It might also come as a shock that Google Play Store actually allows loan apps but it does have rules that try to make these apps behave. On the surface, Opera's apps seem to comply with those policies but user reviews and testimony prove otherwise.

OPesa, which was the only one of the four to have mysteriously vanished, stated it offered loans ranging between 61 to 365 days. It turns out, however, that the actual range was only 15-29 days, well below Google's 60-day minimum. Even worse, however, collectors behind those apps would call not the user who made the loan but the user's contacts when payments were late, a practice that is not only detestable but also illegal.

At the time of this writing, all three other Opera-associated loan apps remain active on Google Play Store. It definitely puts Opera in a bad light and, if proven guilty, could have this revenue source cut out of Google Play Store. That also puts into question the company's other actions and promises and whether it can be trusted with browsing data if it can stoop so low to make a profit.