Dubbed the BBM Mobile app, BlackBerry users will be required to create mobile transfer accounts through which they can send money to their contacts in real-time.
The service is currently being piloted in Indonesia, with PT Bank Permata as BlackBerry’s partner bank in the country. The bank will be used in processing the money transfer, with the BBM Money app borrowing the bank’s infrastructure to ensure security is guaranteed.
Speaking to Bloomberg, PT Bank Permata head of electronic channels said: ”If they want to do the payment, they just go into BBM Money and they transfer in a simple way as if they were chatting.
“We want to put financial activities into customers' habits because BlackBerry Messenger is becoming like the culture here for people to communicate.”
It is reported three out of four BlackBerry users have BBM on their smartphones, a total of 60 million users worldwide.
Speaking at the launch of the pilot, BlackBerry Vice President of BBM and Social Communities T.A. McCann said: "BBM was traditionally thought of as just a chat client. We're really trying to work hard to show clear examples of how we're expanding BBM well beyond just chat.”
BlackBerry enjoys has a large market in Africa, with Nigeria and South Africa the countries where the smartphones enjoy the largest following. Nigeria has an estimated 2.4 million BlackBerry users while Vodacom South Africa recorded over 2.7 million BlackBerry users on their network, making it dominant with 51 per cent of the smartphone market.
Blackberry is yet to announce when the BBM Money app will be available in Africa. Critics are however skeptical, saying BlackBerry will have to fight the already established mobile money services in the African countries were it to bring the service to the continent.