BBM, BlackBerry Messenger Updates, Changes to BBM

It’s not just new social enhancements that has BBM users all fired up. There’s also BlackBerry’s BBM Money service for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone users in Indonesia to consider.

Developed by Monitise and issued and managed by PermataBank, BBM Money was initially made available in early 2013 to BlackBerry users, offering basic mobile wallet services.

“we are uniquely placed in the growing mobile payments space”

“By combining our DNA around security, and the real-time collaboration and privacy attributes of BBM, we are uniquely placed in the growing mobile payments space,” said John Sims, President Global Enterprise Services at BlackBerry. “These new mobile payments partnerships demonstrate how we have effectively evolved BBM from the best real-time chat experience to a true 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 will continue to get richer.”

The new BBM Money will also be made available to Android and iOS smartphone users, regardless of who they bank with or whether they have a bank account. The new BBM Money will enable payments in participating retail stores and online, while continuing to benefit from bank-grade security measures including passcodes and encryption and leveraging BlackBerry’s expertise and legacy in security and privacy.

BBM is one of the most popular messaging applications in Indonesia, with the monthly active user count having grown by 150% over the past 12 months. Because of the country’s low penetration rate for debit cards (11 percent) and the fact that it has the second fastest rate of e-commerce growth after China, it’s easy to see why BlackBerry considers it the ideal target market for BBM Money.

Earlier this year, BlackBerry launched BBM Channels giving Indonesia’s largest brands and retailers a social presence on BBM. “Many of these brands and retailers have a huge following on BBM,” says Matthew Talbot, SVP for Emerging Solutions, BlackBerry. “When you realize the amount of time that is spent using BBM to engage with friends, family and now brands, linking payments was a logical extension.”

“PermataBank plays a vital role in enabling BBM Money in Indonesia. In addition to acting as the issuing bank, obtaining necessary licenses and meeting the regulations of the central Bank of Indonesia, PermataBank will use its enterprise payments expertise in working with retailers to increase adoption of BBM Money as a simpler way to pay,” said Bianto Surodjo, Retail Banking Director, PermataBank.

“Simplifying the payment and checkout process while maintaining bank grade security standards is vital for both consumers and retailers,” says Darren Sugden, EVP, Monitise Asia Pacific. “We have always believed in the power of partnerships and by combining the strengths of BlackBerry and PermataBank with our 10 years of experience in mobile financial services we have developed a service that puts Indonesia at the forefront of mobile payments and commerce innovations.”

BBM Money also looks to bring contact to contact airtime remittance to BBM via TransferTo, allowing customers to send airtime to their friends and relatives. Complementing BlackBerry’s extensive mobile network operator relationships, TransferTo works with over 350 MNO’s in 100+ countries, reaching over 3.6 billion prepaid users. The service will initially launch for BlackBerry 10, iOS, and Android users in Indonesia starting in “early 2015,” with plans to roll out integration with TransferTo to all users later this year.

Allowing 80 percent of mobile users to stay in touch across the world

“Integrating TransferTo’s global airtime remittance network with BBM will provide a simple and seamless way to enable small value transfers between people. As almost 80% of mobile users are prepaid, sending prepaid airtime will enable BBM users to stay in touch with their friends and family overseas. Moreover, the added simplicity of the service will be a win for end users, while providing our mobile operator partners the opportunity to leverage the reach and level of engagement of the BBM user base,” said Eric Barbier, CEO, TransferTo.

BBM has certainly been on a roll with new enhancements to its messaging application. Recent BBM updates have also added file- and location-sharing capabilities to boost the productivity of users, as well as the BBM Shop, from which users can download virtual goods such as a growing selection of stickers.

The app recently launched on Windows Phone and it’s not clear when WP users will get these enhancements, but we’ve reached out to BlackBerry to see if we could get a confirmation. In the meantime, you can download BBM onto your favorite device.

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By Josh Robert Nay

Josh Robert Nay is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TruTower. He has worked in the telecommunications industry since 2003 and specializes in GSM based technology. He also uses (too many) VoIP apps and is a long-time user of BlackBerry, Android, and Windows Phone. He adores anything having to do with space exploration and writing. In addition to the links below, he can be found on LinkedIn and can also be found on his website at