BlackBerry launches BBM Money with HotRemit in India to transfer money to contacts

Smartphone maker BlackBerry and Digitsecure, a payments platform which runs HotRemit, have partnered to bring BBM Money to India. The company had startedthe digital remittance service in Indonesia in 2014. BBM Money is an app which integrates directly with a customer’s BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) account, and allows users to pay for goods using the BBM platform.

HotRemit is a BBM-connected app available for BlackBerry 10, Android and iOS platform and lets users transfer cash to BBM contacts instantly and securely. Note that this is limited to inter-BBM transfers only.

As far as we know, this is the only use case of a messenger application used for payments in India. If there are any other use cases let us know in the comments. In March last year, Facebook announced that it would be allowing peer-to-peer money transfers over its Messenger application and it would be rolled out first in the United States.  LINE messenger in December 2014 said that it is looking at extending its mobile payment service LINE Pay globally. However, no word on India launches.

HotRemit is a social wallet app developed by Digitsecure that handles money transfers, including sending and requesting money, mobile top-up and DTH recharge using phone numbers. Digitsecure was given a prepaid payments instrument licence in July 2012 from the Reserve Bank of India to run a semi closed wallet.

BlackBerry Messenger has 140 million registered users as of July 2015 and the company said that 70% of them are active every day.

Unified payments interface and messengers

Earlier this month, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) launched the Unified Payments Interface. Interestingly, YES Bank had said that it would use the architecture of the UPI to enable Chat and Pay option with messenger apps. Ritesh Pai, YES Bank’s head of digital banking, said that the bank would develop APIs and SDKs which for chat messengers to implement the UPI and users could send and receive money by selecting a contact on their phone book.

Other developments in BlackBerry

– In March, WhatsApp said that it would stop support for BlackBerry devices and BB10 operating system.

– In February, BlackBerry launched the PRIV smartphone in India, BlackBerry’s attempt to transition to the Android platform. BlackBerry would launch two more Android devices devices in India priced below the PRIV.

– BlackBerry appointed Narendra Nayak as the MD of India operations in October 2015. Nayak replaced Sunil Lalvani who quit the organisation in June 2015.