Google launches app that allows bank to lock payment defaulter’s phone: Report

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on November 12, 2020

Device Lock Controller, an ap listed on the Play Store under the Google LLC label, allows banks to lock a user’s device if they fail to make the payments for their phone as per their device finance plans.

The app will let credit providers lock a user’s phone and disable debugging and management features on a phone remotely if a user defaults on that payment for their device.

“Device Lock Controller enables device management for credit providers. Your provider can remotely restrict access to your device if you don't make payments. If your device is restricted, basic functionality, such as emergency calling and access to settings, will still be available,” reads the app description.

The app was first spotted by tech expert @JasonBayton who tweeted a link to the app on the Play Store, as reported by XDA Developers.

A Google spokesperson told XDA Developers that the app had been launched in collaboration with Safaricom, a Kenyan mobile carrier.

Google in July had announced that Safaricom as launching “Lipa Mdogo Mdogo” (“Pay Bit by Bit”), a financing plan designed for Kenyans to make the purchase of a new Android (Go edition) smartphone more affordable by paying for it in instalments.

The FAQ page regarding the plan on Safaricom’s website mentions that the carrier will “lock the device” following four days of non-payment.

Google further clarified that the app will not be listed on the Play Store for general users. The app does not appear when a user searches for it on the store or under the list of apps developed by Google LLC.

According to the report, the app uses Android’s DeviceAdminService API to remotely control the device.

Google is working to take down the listing from the Google Play Store in the United States, the report said.

The tech giant did not specify if it was planning to partner with more credit providers for similar plans.

Published on November 12, 2020

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