BlackBerry Tries Money Messaging with BBM Money

Pilot in Indonesia Will Be Popular, But BlackBerry Must Consider Next Step


Last week the commercial pilot of BlackBerry's BBM Money launched in Indonesia. The service allows BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) users to make person-to-person payments in a similar way to the M-Pesa service in Kenya. Users can open BBM, select a BBM contact and transfer money to them in real time.

I hadn't initially expected BlackBerry to enter mobile payments. Handset manufacturers are not known to deploy their own independent mobile payment services. Only Nokia has tried, and its Nokia Money service lasted for about two years before closing down. (Although it's worth pointing out that this was more a result of Nokia's overall changing strategy in mobile rather than a failure of the service.)

Today handset manufacturers that are working in mobile payments are usually collaborating with other companies to provide the rest of the hardware for transactions. Most recent examples include Samsung, which worked with Visa to enable payments on Galaxy S III models at the London Olympics 2012.

bbm_money_logosCloser examination reveals that BlackBerry has actually taken a similar approach for BBM Money. The service stems from collaboration between PermataBank in Indonesia and UK technology company Monitise. BBM is essentially being used as a portal to facilitate digital payment transactions.

BBM Money could do quite well in Indonesia, but I think there are a couple of reasons why BlackBerry needs to treat any success with caution. Firstly, BlackBerry enjoys immense popularity in Indonesia, accounting for more than half the smartphone market. So customer response is not likely to be representative of the global market.

Secondly, mobile payment services are generally quite popular in emerging markets because of a lack of banking infrastructure. Users in Indonesia will be more willing — or have more need — to try such services.

Looking beyond Indonesia, I'm not sure whether BBM Money in its current form would fare as well in other countries. Services like mobile payments really need scale to lift off, but BBM Money is restricted to BlackBerry handsets. Indonesia may be a booming market for BlackBerry, but this isn't the case in Europe and the US, for example.

From my own experience of using BBM to message friends and relatives in different countries, I think the next step for BBM Money is to focus on cross-border mobile payment services. Of course, international mobile payments face considerable legal and regulatory challenges. Perhaps a partnership with an international payments company like Western Union would work.

Just as BBM provided a great new messaging application exclusive to BlackBerry users across the globe, I think BBM Money has the potential to also offer a truly innovative service.

This entry was posted on February 21st, 2013 and is filed under Services. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Posted By Digantam Gurung On February 21st, 2013


Comments
(There are no comments yet)
Leave a Comment

Hot News

Team Tweets

CCS Insight
Samsung is leading the way as battery life becomes the new focus for device manufacturers http://t.co/udRKdK2OCE
Follow CCS Insight
Shaun Collins
Huge @VerizonWireless numbers today. Now has as many LTE subs as the whole of Europe & connected 1.15m tablets. http://t.co/RDcc3keBzR
Follow Shaun
Ben Wood
Interesting @Nokia appointing "technology-licensing expert" to head Technologies division. Stepping up aggressive patent revenue generation?
Follow Ben
Martin Garner
RT @CCSInsight: Connected object hacks could stunt market growth for the Internet of things http://t.co/sIOoH3UwXn
Follow Martin
Geoff Blaber
Qualcomm's multi facetted China challenge is dominating the earnings call. This will be a recurring theme for a long time to come.
Follow Geoff
Arnaud Gagneux
#HP excellent executive dinner @TheSavoyLondon last night. Great discussions with guests. Superb organisation, fantastic atmosphere.
Follow Arnaud
Paolo Pescatore
Slower growth YoY @ATT @Uverse but gained more users than @Verizon. Internet net adds 488k total of 11.5m. TV net adds 190k total of 5.9m
Follow Paolo
Kester Mann
America Movil aims to appease regulator by dropping m/share below 50% in Mexico. Incredible that it is currently 70% http://t.co/MzglYst9Pa
Follow Kester
Jasdeep Badyal
A steal for some steel. #Xiaomi announces premium s'phone, Mi 4. Expect huge numbers in 2H14, and not just in China http://t.co/yHlMwLCghY
Follow Jasdeep
George Jijiashvili
Control VR lets you step into @oculus Rift's virtual reality - raised over $442K [http://t.co/PNxx9ReQRk] #wearables http://t.co/2tVaYPJk0V
Follow George

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post
Samsung's Power Play Battery Life Becomes the Key Selling Point Stand by for a... Read more
Blog Post
Blast from the Past Is an Infrared Blaster a Flagship Must? Yesterday, Xiaomi... Read more
Blog Post
The Long Trail India Aims to Bring Internet to Every Village Device make... Read more
More blog

Latest Company News

Blog Post
Global Tablet Sales Stutter in 2014 After Extraordinary Period of Growth Tablet Market Growth Slows, but Device Replacement Will See ... Read more
More news