I’m just back from Jakarta, Indonesia, where we announced two new payment capabilities inside BBM. Firstly, an enhanced BBM Money service in Indonesia. Second is integration with TransferTo, an international airtime remittance provider, which will allow you to gift mobile airtime minutes to your BBM Contacts globally.
When it originally launched years ago, BBM was all about connecting people through instant messaging. Now it has expanded to also connect people with brands and retailers. As we continue to build and improve the platform, we’re working toward making BBM into a thriving marketplace for all kinds of commerce.
I go into all the details about both services in my full post over at the Business Blog, but here’s the executive summary.
TransferTo Integration: Send Airtime Internationally
This new integration lets you give prepaid mobile credit to people in your BBM Contacts list, across town or across a border. As almost 80% of mobile users have prepaid accounts, this feature will make it easier to make small value transfers between friends and family, and stay in touch.
BBM Money: P2P Transfers, Mobile Top-Up, and Bill Pay
We’ve been piloting the BBM Money mobile wallet service for the last year on BlackBerry devices. In Jakarta we announced BBM Money will be available by early next year for BBM users on Android and iPhone, in addition to BlackBerry smartphones. The service will allow people to send money to their BBM Contacts, top up mobile airtime accounts, and pay bills, online and at participating retailers. Built by Monitise Indonesia and issued and managed by PermataBank, BBM Money leverages BlackBerry’s legacy in security and privacy, using passcodes and encryption to achieve bank-grade security for a variety of financial transactions.
We’ve gained great insights into the Indonesia marketplace during the pilot service we launched in early 2013, and from next year, will make available an expanded version available to anyone using an Android or iOS device, or a BlackBerry smartphone—no matter which bank they use (if they have a bank). Read more about the features over at the Business Blog.
Indonesia is really the perfect marketplace for BBM Money, for many reasons. It’s the biggest BBM market globally—and it’s growing at a rate of 150% annually. BlackBerry has a very strong brand there—and it shows in a number of awards we’ve won over the past year. It’s not just Indonesian consumers that love BlackBerry and BBM either. Many brands have started their own BBM Channels as a way to connect with their customers, including Coca-Cola, Qoo10, and Garuda Indonesia airline.
Beyond popularity, the Indonesian market is primed for mobile payments. It’s still largely a cash-based economy, and much of the population lacks bank accounts and credit cards. All of that is happening in the world’s fourth largest country by population, which has the second fastest rate of ecommerce growth in the world, behind only China.
Combine all that with BlackBerry’s reputation for mobile security and privacy, and you start to see that mobile payments make perfect sense, especially there, especially now. Get the full story at the Business Blog.