BlackBerry Expands Mobile Money Functionalities in Indonesia

BlackBerry is enhancing its mobile money app (BBM Money) in Indonesia, enabling payments in participating retail stores, online and even transport services.

The updated features mean that BBM Money users will soon be able to reserve and pay for restaurant bills, buy the latest shoes online, and purchase taxi rides, all using the app. The service can also be used with other operating systems, such as Android and iOS. According to a press release from BlackBerry, users will be able to enjoy these added functionalities while benefitting from bank-grade security measures including passcodes and encryption.

BBM Money was first introduced in early 2013 in a pilot program in partnership with one of Indonesia’s best known banks, Bank Permata. Since then, the app has only been able to offer basic mobile payment services such as paying for bills, purchasing airtime credit devices, or moving money to bank accounts.

“The new mobile payments partnerships demonstrate how we have evolved BBM from a real-time chat experience to a social engagement and e-commerce platform. Whether it’s sending pictures and files to groups or contacts; sharing their location or sending money or airtime – all from within the BBM app – our users’ real-time engagement experience is developing,” says John Sims, president, Global Enterprise Services, BlackBerry.

BBM Money’s partnership with Bank Permata plays a fundamental role. Not only will it act as the issuing bank – regardless of who the user banks with – but it will also obtain the necessary licenses as well as meeting the regulations of the Central Bank of Indonesia.

“PermataBank will use its payments expertise in working with retailers to increase adoption of BBM Money as a simpler way to pay,” says Bianto Surodjo, retail banking director, Bank Permata.

At present, BBM Money is only available in Indonesia but BlackBerry hopes to extend it to other markets. It certainly seems that the app might be well suited to a nation where debit card penetration is only at 11 percent but the growth of e-commerce is the second-fastest in the world after China.

While the move seems like a positive one for mobile payments in the Indonesian market, some industry participants believe that BlackBerry still has some way to go in promoting the upgraded BBM Money service. The company also needs to win the trust of consumers considering its market share has fallen from 43 percent in 2011 to 13 percent in 2013, according to IDC research.

“I believe BBM Money may face challenges in the Indonesian market due to low trust when it comes to using online or mobile payments and low IT literacy rates outside of the major cities. Also, [it will need to increase] the number of retailers offering the payment option if it wants to [stand a chance],” says Sri Safitri, chief project director, Strategy Office, Telekomunikasi Indonesia and a BBM user.

The new functionalities will be available for BBM Money customers from early 2015.

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