BlackBerry has partnered Indonesia's Bank Permata and mobile payment provider Monitise to launch a commercial pilot for a new service that enables money to be transferred between BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) users in the country.
BBM Money lets users create and access a mobile money account on their BlackBerry phone, and make real-time secure m-payments to other BBM contacts who are also using the service, said Monitise, which developed the service, in a press release Tuesday.
"BBM Money, which uses BlackBerry's BBM service, further evolves the BBM experience to move from real-time chat to meaningful and convenient real-time engagement," said T.A. McCann, BBM vice president and social communities at BlackBerry, in the press release. "We are excited to be part of this pilot in Indonesia, where BBM has become an essential part of daily life."
Maspiyono Handoyo, Indonesia managing director at BlackBerry, added: "With BBM Money, BlackBerry customers can enjoy an easy, convenient and secure mobile money transaction anytime and anywhere."
According to the statement, Bank Permata will issue the BBM Money accounts and process financial transactions for the service which is protected by bank-grade security measures. These include having a passcode, encryption, monitoring and cash limits as required by Bank Permata under Bank Indonesia regulations.
Besides making m-payments and transferring money to other bank accounts, Monetise said BBM Money also allows customers to pay for mobile airtime or prepaid SIM cards for family and friends. It said people who use BBM to conduct business can also use the service to make payments.
In a separate Bloomberg report, Bianto Surodjo, head of electronic channels at Bank Permata, said he believes BBM Money will have "a few hundred thousand" users within 12 months. "We want to put financial activities into customers' habits because BlackBerry Messenger is becoming like the culture here for people to communicate," he added.
The BBM Money pilot comes ahead of the expected March launch of the latest BlackBerry Z10 smartphone in Indonesia. BlackBerry first unveiled the device and another phone, Q10, along with the debut of the BlackBerry 10 operating system in January this year.
The Canadian handset maker, formerly known as Research In Motion (RIM), has a stronghold in emerging markets such as Indonesia, but continues to battle overall declining sales and market share in the global smartphone business currently dominated by iPhone and Android phones, particularly in developed markets.
Indonesia was not among the first six markets in the official launch of Z10. However, consumer interest remains high, with Z10 resellers in the country hiking prices of the device by up to 40 percent, according to Indonesian news site, Detik.