BlackBerry announces BBM integration with minutes transfer service TransferTo

BlackBerry today announced expansions to BBM Money for users in Asia, but hidden in there was what seems to be a very interesting piece of news for BBM users in general.

As part of the same announcement, the company revealed the addition of integration with TransferTo, a service that allows users to transfer prepaid airtime to friends and family.

TransferTo currently works with 350 mobile network operators around the world and users are able to send minutes to family members internationally. TransferTo says its service is designed for migrants and travellers who want to recharge the prepaid phones of loved ones in other countries. BBM will integrate with TransferTo to allow users to send prepaid mobile credit to their contacts overseas from within the BBM app.

“Integrating TransferTo’s global airtime remittance network with BBM will provide a simple and seamless way to enable small value transfers between people,” TransferTo said in a statement today.

“As almost 80% of mobile users are prepaid, sending prepaid airtime will enable BBM users to stay in touch with their friends and family overseas. Moreover, the added simplicity of the service will be a win for end users, while providing our mobile operator partners the opportunity to leverage the reach and level of engagement of the BBM user base.”

The most exciting part of this announcement is that it sounds like this might actually be available to Canadians at some point. Unlike the BBM Money announcement, which specifically calls out Indonesia, this morning’s released promised availability for “all users” at the end of the year.

BlackBerry hasn’t offered much in the way of details on its TransferTo plans, but it’s all part of a larger effort to beef up its BBM chat service, which has evolved from just simple back-and-forth chat to include file- and location-sharing along with voice calling, group chat, and channels.