We’ve all been there, digging through a papery forest of receipts, business cards, and family pictures in our wallets as we hurry to pay for a coffee and get on with our day. What should be a simple transaction can become an inefficient and disorganized hassle. It’s no surprise that convenience is one key reason why mobile payments – including the ability to conduct transactions through near field communication (NFC)-enabled devices – is becoming increasingly desirable for both consumers and merchants. In fact, research firm Gartner has indicated, “The total value of transactions using mobile technology is expected to grow from $35 billion in 2012 to $173 billion in 2017, at a compound annual growth rate of 31 percent. This projection includes merchandise purchases, ticketing and bill payments, while it excludes person-to-person payments and airtime top-ups.”
As this emerging industry grows in popularity, so does the need for technology that makes it all possible. BlackBerry devices have long featured NFC, a short-range wireless technology that, in conjunction with a number of applications in BlackBerry World, enables users to make mobile payments. The first payment made with a mobile credit card in Canada was done with a BlackBerry a year and a half ago.
Of broader importance, BlackBerry is also capable of providing the communications platform on which financial transactions are serviced and secured. This means that we can offer customers access to our proven and reliable infrastructure to support their growth in the mobile payments market.
And today we announced that we’re doing just that, through a new three-year agreement with EnStream, a mobile payments joint venture owned by Canadian wireless carriers Bell, Rogers and TELUS. EnStream’s financial institution customers and mobile operators can now securely provision sensitive payment card credentials into any smartphone capable of NFC.
This is important to BlackBerry because it shows how we can leverage assets such as our world-class secure infrastructure to provide unique services to customers. Our core strength in enterprise mobility translates well to mobile payments in particular because of the high security needed to protect financial data. Consumer convenience can’t come at the cost of security. Working with EnStream is another example of how we are helping enterprises deploy secure mobile solutions that help make their workers more productive and drive new revenue streams.
BlackBerry has been a pioneer in mobile payments and this is certainly not our first foray into this interesting market. For starters, NFC has been supported on virtually all BlackBerry devices since BlackBerry 7 OS. We also had the first OS to support Host Card Emulation (“HCE”) in BlackBerry 7 OS. In fact, the first commercial deployment of HCE was the Tim Horton mobile payment app for BlackBerry 10 late last year. We also offer BBM Money in Indonesia with Bank Permata.
Mobile payments is an exciting space with a lot of promise, particularly for those companies embracing new technology to better connect with and service their customers. I look forward to sharing news and insights about what BlackBerry is doing in this industry and other emerging opportunities where BlackBerry’s security model and mobile expertise can add value to enterprises.
 Gartner, Emerging Technology Analysis: Mobile Payments Create Opportunities for Technology and Service Providers With Banking Expertise, Rajesh Kandaswamy, Dec 10, 2013 (p. 2).