Loan sharks in Nigeria are a growing problem for people who need access to quick loans with minimal paperwork. These loan organizations offer loans with high interest rates that can leave borrowers in a cycle of debt. They take advantage of the fact that not everyone can get access to loans from traditional banks in Nigeria, and then offer them loans with near-fraudulent terms.
In this post, we will explore the world of loan sharks in Nigeria, including who they are, how they operate, and the risks involved in borrowing money from them. We’ll also provide tips on how to avoid falling prey to these “black market lenders”, and suggest some alternatives for obtaining loans. Whether you’re in need of a loan or simply curious about the topic, read on to learn all you should know about loan sharks in Nigeria.
Who are loan sharks in Nigeria?
The term “loan shark” is generally used to describe a lender who engages in predatory lending practices, such as charging extremely high interest rates or using intimidation tactics to collect payments.
So according to the definition, your friend, brother, sister, uncle, etc. can be a loan shark as long as they offer you a loan with an exorbitant interest rate, no paperwork, no collateral, and use intimidation techniques to try to collect back their payment.
However, the type of loan sharks we are looking at now does not involve those. Our focus in this article is on the unregistered companies operating as loan providers in Nigeria through their various mobile apps.
How do loan sharks operate in Nigeria?
Loan sharks in Nigeria often use unorthodox and sometimes illegal methods to lend money. They may offer loans with no paperwork or collateral, which can seem like a good deal to someone in urgent need of cash. However, these loans often come with wicked interest rates and unrealistic payback duration that can trap borrowers in a cycle of debt. Loan sharks may also use intimidation, harassment, defamation, or physical violence to collect payments.
Why do people borrow from loan sharks?
Loan shark companies continue to exist in Nigeria because they are still being patronized. There are various reasons why Nigerians may choose to borrow from loan sharks instead of traditional lenders. For one, some may have poor credit scores or lack the necessary documents that are needed to apply for a bank loan. Others may need the cash very quickly and so may not have the time to wait for a bank loan to be approved. Loan sharks may also be more accessible, particularly in rural areas where traditional banks may not have a presence.
How to identify loan sharks in Nigeria
If you need to borrow money in Nigeria and want to avoid loan sharks, there are various signs that can enable you to identify them. Here are some tips to help you avoid them:
1. Check the company’s website: A legitimate lender should have a professional-looking website that contains detailed information about their services, interest rates, fees, and requirements. Look for contact information such as an address, phone number, and email address. Loan Shark’s websites usually look unprofessional, may contain numerous typos or grammatical errors, or lack clear contact information. If you notice any of these signs, that is a red flag.
2. Verify the lender’s license: In Nigeria, lenders are required to be licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). You can verify a lender’s license status by checking the CBN’s list of licensed microfinance banks and money lenders. If a lender is not listed, it is a sign that they are operating illegally.
3. They require upfront fees: Legitimate lenders would not ask you to pay an upfront fee before giving you a loan. If a lender requires you to pay a fee such as a processing fee before you can receive the loan, it may be a scam.
4. Research the lender’s reputation: Check the self-acclaimed loan company’s reputation and reviews on websites such as Trustpilot, Google Reviews, Facebook groups, or consumer protection agencies. If there are lots of negative reviews or complaints about the lender’s summary, you may want to avoid borrowing from such.
5. Unsolicited messages and calls: Loan sharks are usually fond of sending messages in the form of text to users, and calling them to take a loan. If you receive these calls and texts from certain loan companies, they may be fake and unregistered, so it’s best to avoid them.
6. App missing from Google Playstore: Google has strict rules governing financial apps, including the fact that they should be legally registered by their country’s financial bodies. And for defaulters, Google usually takes down their app from its store. So if the mobile app of a loan agency is missing from the Google Play store, it could be another sign that such a lender is operating illegally.
7. No website: A legit loan company must have a website that contains all the information about its business and mode of operation. If you come across a loan agency without a website, that’s a red flag and such lenders should be avoided.
So in summary, to avoid fake loan apps and companies, you must conduct thorough research, verify the lender’s license, avoid upfront fees, and be wary of unsolicited loan offers. If you follow these tips, you can protect yourself from fraudulent lending practices and make informed decisions when borrowing money.
List of loan sharks and fake loan apps in Nigeria (2023)
To further help you avoid fraudulent loan apps and lenders, we have put together a list of fake and illegal loan apps that are currently operating in Nigeria. They include:
- Cash Mall
- 9ja Cash
- Cash Wallet
- Ease Cash
- Maxi Credit
- Cash Wallet
- Rapid Naira
- Speedy Choice
- Lucky Loan
- Star Loan
- Fine Kudi
- MoneyTree MyCash
- Daily Loan
- Liberty Loan
- Omega Loan
- Credit Easy
Difference between borrowing from licensed companies, and borrowing from loan sharks
The table below highlights the differences between loan sharks and licensed loan companies:
|Borrowing from Licensed Companies
|Borrowing from Loan Sharks
|Regulated and reasonable
|Unregulated and high
|No legal protection
|Often lack transparency
|Legal and ethical
|Illegal and unethical
|Credit score Implications
|Can improve credit score
|Can negatively impact score
|Fees and charges
|Hidden fees and charges
|Risk of Harassment
What to do if you’ve already borrowed from a loan shark
If you’re already in debt to a loan shark, there are steps you can take to regain control of your finances and peace of mind:
- Pay up your loan: It’s unfortunate that you’ve had to fall prey to a loan shark, however, to avoid complicating things for yourself such as receiving defamation calls, late repayment fees, etc., it’s best to pay up as at when due.
- Negotiate a repayment plan: If you will be unable to pay up the complete amount as at when due, contact them and try to negotiate a repayment plan that is realistic and affordable.
- Revoke their app permissions: If somehow you will be unable to pay up your loan on or before your due date due to some unforeseen circumstances, you should remove the access granted previously to their apps to avoid them reaching your contacts. On your Android phone, go to “Settings,” then “Apps & notifications.” Select the loan app that you want to revoke access from, then select “Permissions.” and toggle off all permissions. Note that you must do this before the due date for it to work.
- Block the lender’s number: If the lender keeps disturbing and spamming you directly with calls and texts, you can block their number to prevent them from calling or texting you. Simply download the Truecaller app and block every single number they will contact you with.
- Report illegal lending practices: If your date of repayment has elapsed, and your lender has started engaging in illegal lending practices, such as charging exorbitant late repayment fees, calling your contact to harass them, slandering you, or using any form of violence to collect payments, report them to the police, the FCCPC, or a legal aid organization.
Frequently asked questions
Are loan sharks illegal?
Yes, loan sharks are illegal in Nigeria. Loan sharks operate outside legal regulations and often use intimidation, threats, and violence to collect debts. This behavior is illegal and can result in criminal charges and penalties for loan sharks.
What happens if you don’t pay loan sharks?
If you don’t pay loan sharks, they may use various tactics to pressure you into paying, such as making threatening phone calls or messages, visiting your home or workplace, using physical violence or intimidation, adding additional charges or fees to the loan amount without explanation, and refusing to provide documentation or proof of the loan agreement or repayment terms.
Can I sue a loan shark for harassment?
Yes, you can sue a loan shark for harassment. Harassment is illegal, regardless of the reason for it. Loan sharks who use threats, intimidation, or physical violence to collect debts are breaking the law, and you have the right to take legal action against them.
What is considered harassment by loan companies?
Harassment by loan companies refers to any behavior or communication that is intended to intimidate, pressure, or coerce a borrower into paying off a debt. Examples of harassment by a loan company include:
- Repeatedly contacting a borrower, either by phone or in person, after they have requested that the lender stop doing so.
- Threatening or using abusive language toward a borrower or their family members.
- Making false or misleading statements, such as threatening to have the borrower arrested or to take legal action that is not permitted by law.
- Disclosing information about a borrower’s debt to third parties, such as their employer, family members, or neighbors.
- Falsifying loan documents or adding unauthorized fees or charges to a borrower’s account.
- Refusing to provide information or documentation that a borrower has requested in writing.
Loan sharks in Nigeria can be a dangerous trap for people who need quick access to cash. So before you take a loan from them, you should know the risks involved. You should only go to them as a final resort, that is, after you have unsuccessfully explored every other alternative such as borrowing from family and friends, borrowing from the banks, etc.
Remember, if you do decide to borrow money from a loan shark, you’re still responsible for repaying the loan. However, you have the right to protect your privacy and prevent lenders from contacting your friends and families to harass them and defame you. So if you notice that a loan shark is starting to harass you after borrowing, utilize the steps above to protect yourself.
Do you know of any other fake loan app or loan shark that has not been mentioned in the article? Tell us in the comments so we can update the list.