Chinese regulator warns against excessive loans spurred by internet platforms

FILE PHOTO: Chinese 100 yuan banknotes are seen in a counting machine while a clerk counts them at a branch of a commercial bank in Beijing, China, March 30, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s banking and insurance regulator urged consumers on Tuesday to guard against excessive borrowing spurred by internet platforms, hiding the real costs of such debt.

Some institutions and internet platforms have marketed loan products as free of interest, intentionally blurring the actual cost of such lending, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) said in a notice.

It did not specify any offenders, however.

The over-packaging and marketing of products on the internet could lure some young people without stable incomes and consumers lacking financial knowledge into “uncontrolled and blind consumption”, the regulator added.

It also urged consumers to guard against the risks of over-collection and misuse of personal data, as well as the prospect of debt collection with violence engendered by using such platforms.

Reporting by Cheng Leng and Ryan Woo; Editing by Clarence Fernandez