Google has removed hundreds of applications from the Play Store that are related to financial trading. This decision was made after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) released its study of trading applications currently available on the Google Play Store and iOS App Store. According to the agency, more than 300 trading applications for Android and iOS are owned by individuals or firms operating without required licenses. The biggest risk regarding unregulated trading firms is the possibility that some of these companies engage in fraudulent activities, though many are still legitimate. Consumers who invest using such platforms have no protection from the state in case such a business goes bankrupt, ASIC argued.
The trading applications usually work by issuing binary options, providing users with the ability to take advantage of fluctuations in the stock prices and foreign exchange rates across different global markets. Depending on the conditions set by trading firms and changes in the prices and exchange rates, investors may either gain a substantial amount of money or lose all of their investments. Trading firms focus their marketing on the promise of earning money easily. The study conducted by ASIC saw a certain application that promises users that they will earn 90 percent of their investment in less than an hour. The agency also pointed out that these applications fail in educating potential investors regarding the risks involved in such transactions.
Aside from trading applications, the agency warned about educational sites and binary options reviews that only exist to gather data from consumers for "high-pressure cold-calling," with the latter referring to the practice of businesses soliciting individuals using previously obtained information. Given those risks, the agency asked consumers to be vigilant regarding the firms that they invest their money in. One way to ensure the legitimacy of a trading firm is by checking whether the trading firms are licensed to provide such services. In addition, users are asked to ensure that the binary options providers control their prices fairly. Last but not the least, investors are advised to not commit their hard-earned money to deals that seem too good to be true because they likely are.