BBM goes beyond chat with BBM Money in Indonesia
Indonesian BlackBerrians can now pay and transfer money to fellow BlackBerry Messenger contacts through BBM Money.By Goutama Bachtiar 27 Feb, 2013
Mobile payments just became easier in the so-called “BlackBerry Nation,” as BlackBerry launches BBM Money in Indonesia. This is possible through partnership with financial institutions PermataBank and mobile money provider Monetise PLC. With the BBM Money application developed by Monetise, BlackBerry users can pay and send funds their BBM contacts using funds from their bank account.
PermataBank president David Fletcher expresses optimism in having a “cashless society” in Indonesia. “This initiative is a response to growing customers 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.” PermataBank is partially owned by the UK’s Standard Chartered Bank.
The move to launch a messenger-based mobile banking service seems to be in line with BlackBerry’s push to keep Indonesian mobile users within the BlackBerry ecosystem, noting that a majority of the country’s smartphone users are on BBM, which is a service that runs only on BlackBerry devices. The ability to access financial services on the messaging service makes BBM stand out among its rivals.
The service will allow users to send and receive money from BBM contacts regardless of the bank they have their money in. For those who already have a PermataBank account, they would only need to upgrade their account by bringing a valid ID to the nearest branch. Once the upgrade is complete, users can now top-up their mobile prepaid numbers at full value (without additional charges) or load BBM Money through ATMs and mobile- or internet-banking.
Permata Head of Electronic Channels Bianto Surodjo is optimistic that the new feature can attract a few hundred thousand users out of BlackBerry’s 2 million customers in the first 12 months, despite the fact that most analysts and technology pundits have been skeptical about the Canadian smartphone pioneer’s chances of mounting a comeback, and doubting its ability to sell enough devices. “We are still optimistic that usage will maintain or even increase in coming years,” he added.
Meanwhile, BBM Vice President T.A. McCann said BBM Money is “one of an array of features being added to the messaging service to boost its appeal,” and highlighted that this is just one of their efforts in “expanding BBM beyond just chat.”
If this is successful, they will step up for another move. We could expect that it will involve more banks, countries, devices and functionalities, McCann added.
Furthermore, the funds transfer service is currently limited for BlackBerry devices with OS 5, 6 and 7. The company, which changed its name from Research in Motion when it launched the BB10 platform last month, shared that there is no plan how’s going with its latest device yet.
BBM Money can be downloaded from BlackBerry World.