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RI Testing Ground for BlackBerry Money

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Canadian-based smartphone manufacturer, BlackBerry, has chosen Indonesia as a testing ground for its first-ever mobile money service, BlackBerry Messenger Money (BBM Money), which premiered in the country on Tuesday.

In a pilot project conducted in cooperation with Bank Permata, users will be able to transfer money to their contacts over the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service, executives of both companies said in interviews.

TA McCann, BlackBerry vice president for BlackBerry messenger and social communities, said that the company introduced BBM Money to extend the usage of BBM beyond chat.

He added that Indonesia was chosen to test out BBM Money as Indonesia “is our leading market for BBM”.

“Indonesia has the largest and most active population of BBM users,” he said, adding that 60 million people worldwide utilized BBM.

The percentage of active, daily BBM users in Indonesia had surpassed the global average of 60 percent, he said.

To access the service, people must first download the application from BlackBerry World. They then have to register, through the app, their name, phone number and password to obtain a BBM Money account.

They can then top up this virtual account, via money transfer from their bank accounts, to a maximum of Rp 5 million (US$515), as outlined by Bank Indonesia (BI) rules on digital money.

They can then transfer funds to their BBM contacts who have downloaded the application as well. Users can then withdraw the transferred funds via their bank accounts.

McCann said Bank Permata, which is partly owned by Standard Chartered plc, would be in charge of managing the financial transactions, and PT Agit Monitise Indonesia, developers of the application.

“However, we are open to other financial partners,” he said.

Bianto Surodjo, Permata Bank head of retail liability, wealth management and e-banking, said that the bank would provide two levels of service — basic and upgraded — via the BBM Money application.

Customers registering at Permata Bank will receive certain advantages; for example, they will be able to transfer up to Rp 5 million per transaction, while those who don’t register may only conduct transactions up to Rp 1 million. The funds, he said, would be sent via BBM.

“The maximum value of transactions per month is Rp 20 million,” he said, in accordance with the guidelines set by BI on e-money.

He added that through the service, the bank sought to retain current customers and acquire new customers who wished to access the upgraded service.

“We already have 300,000 to 400,000 of our customers utilizing our mobile money services,” he said.

Permata Bank as well as other banks and telecommunications operators, have introduced their own versions of phone banking.

Bianto added that the bank had yet to set transaction and customer acquisition targets given the newness of the service.

“However, we believe that BlackBerry users will adopt this service in a flash given their familiarity with BBM,” he said.

Nabilag Alsagoff, the chief operating officer of Doku, a long-time provider of digital-payment services, said BlackBerry would need to engage in heavy promotion to make the market understand the way BBM Money functioned.

“If the service becomes popular, people could commence sending money using BBM,” she said.

But the greater challenge, she added was the declining number of BlackBerry users and whether the new service could stem this decline (The Jakarta Post).

2 comments

  1. Nabilag Alsagoff, the chief operating officer of Doku, a long-time provider of digital-payment services, said BlackBerry would need to engage in heavy promotion to make the market understand the way BBM Money functioned.

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