Nigeria is one of those countries that seems to be getting a lot of attention from FinTech companies simply because there are very little financial services present to speak of in the country. While various Bitcoin companies are trying to gain a foothold in the market, BlackBerry will be bringing the BMM Mobile payments to Nigeria.
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BlackBerry Targets Mobile Money Market
The lack of financial services in Nigeria and other African countries make them perfect for disruption, especially as far as mobile payments are concerned. BlackBerry is determined to play a role of importance in this segment as far as Nigeria is concerned by allowing users to transfer funds using the BBM messaging service.
In fact, BlackBerry is – allegedly – seeing quite a positive response and growth in Africa. This is in stark contrast to the company’s struggles in the Western World, where both iOS and Android are dominating. According to the information we have received, there are over 22 million registered BBM users in all of Africa and they combine for a total of 380 million messages on a daily basis.
One thing African citizens have no shortage of is mobile devices. Most people on the continent own at least one mobile device, making the continent a prime market for mobile payments. Due to the lack of financial services, countries like Nigeria might transition from cash into mobile payments and skip the “traditional financing” step altogether.
BlackBerry has partnered with local payment processor Interswitch to allow users to transfer funds by using the BBM messaging service. In addition, they can use the same platform to transfer airtime to other users. By making mobile payments as easy as sending a photo to another user, BlackBerry is on the right track to becoming a major player in the market.
But that is not all, as an addition has been made to the BBM Shop payment option. Firstmonie, the mobile wallet of First Bank of Nigeria, has partnered with BlackBerry to make this venture a success. Furthermore, BlackBerry is already working on a deal to expand the service to South Africa as well.
Good News For Bitcoin….Sort Of
Bitcoin payments could become a major factor in the African mobile payment ecosystem as well. Facing competition from BlackBerry is both good and bad at the same time. On the one hand, it will help boost mobile payments on the continent in general, from which Bitcoin can benefit as well in the long run.
On the other hand, it may draw some of the attention away from Bitcoin, which would be less beneficial. However, the mobile market ecosystem is heating up in Africa, and will only be a matter of time until people start to see the value Bitcoin can offer them in a convenient and frictionless manner.
Source: BlackBerry Blog