BlackBerry has launched its first BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) mobile payments service. The proprietary BBM Money is being piloted in Indonesia in partnership with local bank PermataBank and mobile software specialist Monitise, and is expected to attract many ‘unbanked’ customers.
Indonesian consumers can create and access a mobile money account from their BlackBerry smartphone and make real-time payments to their BBM contacts, if they are also signed up to the new service. BBM Money users can also buy mobile airtime credit and transfer money to bank accounts.
Developed by PT AGIT Monitise Indonesia, which is a joint venture between Monitise Asia Pacific and Astra Graphia Information Technology (AGIT), and issued and managed by the local PermataBank, BBM Money is entering an Indonesian marketplace where only 40% have a bank account but 90% of the population has a mobile, many of them BlackBerry’s. The opportunity to attract ‘unbanked’ people towards financial services, as has happened in Kenya with M-Pesa and numerous other similar schemes, is obvious.
BBM Money customers can easily load cash into the app from an Indonesian bank account. PermataBank will issue BBM Money mobile money accounts and process the financial transactions. The service is protected by bank-grade security measures including a passcode, encryption, monitoring, and limits as required by PermataBank under Indonesian regulations.
Through a simple registration process within the application, BBM customers can create a BBM Money account with PermataBank and then start loading cash into the account through any of the 70,000 ATMs in Indonesia. After visiting a designated location to perform a one-time identity check, customers can then make secure payments to their BBM contacts and transfer money to other bank accounts using the app. Customers can also pay for mobile airtime or prepaid SIM cards for their family and friends. Customers who actively conduct business through BBM can also make payments immediately and securely, creating a trading arena in the country.
Commenting on the launch, David Fletcher, president and director of PermataBank, said: "We are pleased to team up with our strategic partners in developing this innovative and revolutionary service and we would like to express our sincere appreciation to the regulators, especially Bank Indonesia, for their support in the process. This initiative is a response to growing customer and society needs of easy and convenient banking services by using their smartphone. This is in line with our vision to be the pioneer in delivering innovative financial solutions and also reflects our support to Bank Indonesia’s concept of a cashless society in Indonesia."
The retail banking director of PermataBank, Lauren Sulistiawati, added that she believes that “this is a game-changing innovation as the transactions can be performed as easy as chatting on BBM”, while Calvin Lim, director of AGIT Monitise Indonesia commented that he was delighted to see “Indonesia is the first country in the world to develop a person-to-person (P2P) payment service using BBM.”
With BBM Money, “BlackBerry customers can enjoy an easy, convenient and secure mobile money transaction anytime and anywhere,” says Maspiyono Handoyo, managing director for Indonesia at BlackBerry, who went on to add: “We are committed to work with partners to bring services to BlackBerry customers in Indonesia that can enrich their mobile lifestyle.”