BlackBerry to enhance mobile payment capabilities

BlackBerry to enhance mobile payment capabilities

BlackBerry has announced a series of new initiatives that are designed to boost the quality of its mobile payment capabilities forBBM users.

The company says it is teaming up with Monitise and PermataBank to develop its BBM Money service, which has offered basic digital wallet functions to users of the private sharing network since the beginning of 2013. A new version of the service will be available to iOS and Android users, as well as the BlackBerry users who had exclusive use of the older version.

BBM Money will enable mobile payments in a number of participating retail outlets online, and the firm has said it will make no difference which institution the user banks with or whether they even have a bank account. But BlackBerry insists that its expertise in security will come into play to ensure what MarketWatch describes as “bank-grade security measures”.

The service is being launched in Indonesia first – a promising market where BlackBerry’s user numbers are growing alongside the e-commerce sector, yet debit card penetration rates are relatively low. However, the plan is to eventually roll the service out across other markets.

"Many of these brands and retailers have a huge following on BBM," Matthew Talbot, senior vice-president for emerging solutions at BlackBerry, told MarketWatch.

 "When you realise the amount of time that is spent using BBM to engage with friends, family and now brands, linking payments was a logical extension."

Yet BlackBerry is also working on other uses for BBM, having launched an integration with TransferTo that will allow users to transfer prepaid mobile credit to users in other countries – effectively, phone users can transfer airtime to friends and family and colleagues abroad within the BBM app.

Recent updates to BBM have seen functions such as file-sharing introduced to the app, which has been seen as a move to improve offerings for business users by boosting productivity. Facilities such as location-sharing and the BBM Shop, which allows users to download virtual goods, have also been added.