BlackBerry ties three-year EnStream deal to provide mobile payment infrastructure across Canada

Daniel Bader

June 12, 2014 8:55am

The last we heard, EnStream, a joint mobile payment venture between Rogers, TELUS and Bell, was signing up Canada’s largest credit union, Desjardin, as a mobile payment partner.

Today, news of out its camp is that BlackBerry has signed a three-year deal to provide the payment infrastructure to communicate between NFC-enabled smartphones and their partner banks, including Royal Bank, TD, CIBC and the aforementioned Desjardins.

Mobile payments are indeed taking off in Canada, with all three carriers launching some form of NFC-based payment product this year. Rogers recently launched the suretap wallet, which allows users to pay for items using a prepaid MasterCard at any swipeless payment terminal, and Bell is already in the final stage of its own mobile wallet product. More recently, TD Canada Trust rolled out mobile credit card payments for a select number of NFC-enabled Android and BlackBerry devices, with more compatibility to come in the near future.

One thing all of these products have in common is a single-point backend infrastructure powered by EnStream. Because BlackBerry was already a partner on the client side, working with CIBC and Rogers on the first NFC-related credit card payment system in Canada, making the transition to provide communications infrastructure was not a big leap. The company, though downtrodden, is attempting to reinvent itself as the go-to facilitator of enterprise solutions, and its secure network infrastructure is still second-to-none.

BlackBerry has achieved PCI, Visa and MasterCard certification already, and according to Nicolas Dinh, Vice President of Emerging Payments, MasterCard, “BlackBerry’s involvement in the payment chain will help build trust in Canada and abroad.”

BlackBerry is not unfamiliar with the payment space, having launched BBM Money in Indonesia a couple of years ago.


WATERLOO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – June 12, 2014) – BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ:BBRY)(TSX:BB), a world leader in mobile communications, today announced a new three-year agreement with EnStream LP, a mobile payments joint venture owned by Canadian wireless carriers Bell, Rogers and TELUS, to provide a secure platform that supports transaction services between leading banks and consumers.

Under the agreement, EnStream will leverage BlackBerry’s proven and reliable infrastructure to enable financial institutions, including Royal Bank of Canada, TD Bank Group, CIBC and Desjardins, and mobile operators to securely provision sensitive payment card credentials into any smartphone capable of near field communication.

Today the mobile payments space is primed for growth. According to Gartner, “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.”1

Supporting mobile payments reinforces BlackBerry’s ability to provide unique services that help enterprise customers deploy secure mobile solutions that help promote productivity among their workforce and drive new revenue streams. Working with EnStream demonstrates BlackBerry’s strategy to extend its core enterprise mobility technologies in new and emerging industries.

“BlackBerry has proven through our decades of experience in enterprise mobility that we have the ideal infrastructure and security capabilities to protect users’ data when new capabilities such as mobile payments emerge,” said John Sims, President of Global Enterprise Services, BlackBerry. “Together with EnStream and partners like them around the world, BlackBerry can better reach customers and provide a complete solution for banks with opportunities in the mobile payments space.”

“EnStream, with BlackBerry, is already serving a number of banks and mobile operators, and is becoming a hub for payment credential delivery to smartphones in Canada,” said Almis Ledas, Chief Operating Officer, Enstream LP. “We expect most major Canadian banks and mobile operators to connect through this platform to meet consumer demand for efficient and safe digital transactions.”

In order to provide the platform for EnStream, BlackBerry needed to protect the sensitive data associated with financial transactions and meet the stringent requirements of the payment industry. This included complying with regulations and earning PCI, Visa and MasterCard certification.

“Canada is a leading global region in the adoption of technology and mobile payments, making it a key market for MasterCard innovation,” said Nicolas Dinh, Vice President of Emerging Payments, MasterCard. “Safe and secure digital transactions are the backbone of our network and mobile payment ecosystem, and BlackBerry’s involvement in the payment chain will help build trust in Canada and abroad.”

“Canada is leading the world in mobile payments adoption and Visa’s continued focus on innovation is underpinned by our commitment to security and reliability,” said Derek Colfer, Director of Mobile, Visa. “We support BlackBerry’s efforts to offer a secure mobile payment service that will help facilitate mobile payments.”

Given its requirements for security, the mobile payments space continues to be an area of focus for BlackBerry. In addition to today’s announcement, BlackBerry previously launched BBM Money in Indonesia, which allows BBM customers to transfer funds and conduct other types of financial transactions using BBM.

  • Syaz

    Interesting… diversifying their market.

  • Anthony Roberts

    Blackberry strength I know for a fact will be more software. QNX is the key to their success I see this process will take 3 to 4 years to truly flourish. BB10 is truly amazing and will continue to grow. Remember BB10 is only over a year old and so far has a lot of positive reviews…especially towards the Z30….With the New windermere coming out…Z3 LTE…Classic and the mysterious rumor Manitoba device being shown off the blackberry experience in London and BES 12 coming this fall its going to be an interesting time for blackberry in the next year. Blackberry please listen though next year you need a successor for the Z10 and Z30 extremely important.

  • Martin Chan

    This is actually the proper way to do things.

    There’s this problem of having a certain phone with a certain carrier with a certain bank. Simplify it, only if this could catch on with all platforms.

  • MXH070

    Well it would be foolish for the market to only work with apple for mobile payment when iPhones are a small fraction of the devices in the market. Apple should just add NFC and join with the rest so everyone can enjoy this feature, but we all know apple won’t do that as it being a control freak company and won’t give apple users ANY freedom.

  • Kenny S. Zhang

    the article is about blackberry, yet the stock photo is of a Samsung device?

    • Brian Wuttke

      That’s the first thing I noticed as well. Come on MobileSyrup you are better than that!

  • Omeed

    Apple doesn’t have infrastructure to even offer this. What are you talking about? Since apple did iphone doesn’t mean they can fly to moon.

  • John_JJP

    I think the big problem with the different mobile payment systems out there are that they are .. well .. different. It seems that no one system works with all banks/all carriers, etc. If the group could come to a consensus, build a system that worked with any bank (that signed on to it of course) and any cell carrier etc.. things would take off a lot more than they will with everyone offering a different product.

    Think of it this way .. if the Interac system we have was not in use virtually everywhere in the country, but only at certain stores with certain banks with certain terminals, etc etc.. It would not work. However, being able to go to basically any store with any bank card and use the same terminal .. It has become so highly used.

    Maybe Interac should take this on?

    • J-Ro

      I think that is what the article is about. Blackberry is stepping up and taking on the mobile payments role. Interac could try to jump in but that would cost them more than it is worth. They would be better to partner with Blackberry later on down the road. If interac got into the mobile space and did it badly, it would severely hurt their image.

  • ScooterinAB

    This is refreshing news. Blackberry certainly needs to do more business like this to repair its damaged consumer image. This certainly goes to show that they are more than consumer electronics.