BlackBerry plans to allow BBM users in Africa to send money or airtime. In an announcement made on Monday, the Canadian firm said the service will first be available in Nigeria and will enable users to transfer money or airtime as simply and quickly as they transfer photos and files.
Expanding in mobile payments space
In a blog post, BlackBerry’s senior VP for emerging solutions, Matthew Talbot, said, “We’re excited to announce we’ll be expanding our mobile payment initiatives into Africa, commencing in Nigeria.”
Talbot added that the company has entered into a partnership with Nigeria’s largest payment processor, Interswitch, to enable all Nigerians to transfer money or airtime within BBM.
BlackBerry is also expanding its BBM Shop payment options, which will soon include a mobile wallet from Nigeria’s largest bank. The Canadian firm is also partnering Mobile Media Info Tech to “revolutionize mobile payments, to bring secure payments to the BBM Shop,” Talbot said.
In July 2014, BlackBerry made its first push into mobile payments by signing a three-year deal with EnStream – a mobile payments firm. In August, BlackBerry bought its mobile payments service to BBM users in Canada. The service was introduced under the name BBM Money via PayPal.
BlackBerry counting on emerging markets
BlackBerry is making a very strong push to establish its presence in the mobile payments space, especially in emerging markets. The company informed readers that more than half a million new users install the BBM app every month in Nigeria and South Africa, and this is allowing “a network effects [to] take root in several markets across the continent.”
In addition, close to 10 million visits are made to BBM Shop every month, and it gets more than 26 million ad requests on a daily basis. BlackBerry said that these strong advertising numbers are an indication that two of its biggest global opportunities are in these two countries These two markets are “our top revenue-generating markets,” despite them being considered developing economies, the Canadian firm said.
BlackBerry already offers its mobile payments service in Indonesia, which is an emerging nation in Southeast Asia with a population of around 250 million. There are several competing messenger apps in these markets that offer mobile payments/wallets such a Line, WeChat, Kakao Talk and others.
On Monday, BlackBerry shares closed up 1.53% at $7.94. Year to date, the stock is down by almost 28%, while in the last one month, it is up by almost 9%.