Santander UK plc becomes the first bank in the U.K. to employ blockchain technology to facilitate cross-border payments via its new app. Santander UK, fully owned by Spanish Santander Group, has partnered with technology firm Ripple to power its international payments app via Ripple’s blockchain xCurrent and RippleNet platforms.
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Santander UK CEO Nathan Bostock, speaking at the International Fintech Conference in London, said:
“This spring, if no one beats us to it, we will be the first large retail bank to carry out cross-border payments at scale with blockchain technology.”
All Aboard the Blockchain
Santander’s app is now using Ripple’s enterprise blockchain solutions to make quick payments and, at the same time, reduce costs.
In an excited statement, Ripple’s Chief Executive Officer Chris Larsen, noted:
“Ripple is redefining the way that value moves around the world, and today we’re already enabling real-time, affordable international settlement between banks who have adopted our solutions. As an early adopter and pioneer in the banking industry, Santander is the first bank in the world to transfer real funds externally. In doing so, they are creating a new, exemplary standard of service.”
According to Santander’s blog, the new app will launch as a staff pilot app, with the aim to expand the use further at a later date.
To use the system, Santander staff need to download the app and then enter their details for verification. Transfers can be made between GBP to EUR and USD. For now, transactions in EUR are facilitated for 21 countries, whereas USD payments are only limited to the United States.
In reference to the new app, Sigga Sigurdardottir, Santander’s Head of Customer and Innovation said: “The need for finance has evolved from providing a physical Pound in your pocket or card in your purse, where you pay at a till, to being seamlessly integrated into a new, always on, connected lifestyle.”
Replacing Traditional Banking Systems?
The new staff pilot app aims to settle transactions within 24 hours, which otherwise takes days using the traditional payment system. Additionally, the Ripple-backed app also shows how much a particular international payment can cost.
To that end, the aforementioned Sigurdardottir argues blockchain will transform the traditional banking system. He stated as such in recents remarks:
“At Santander we work hard to ensure our banking is simple, personal and fair and believe new Blockchain technology will play a transformational role in the way we achieve our goals and better serve our customers, adding value by creating more choice and convenience.”
Ripple hopes to keep the projects coming, to be sure. The firm offers a range of enterprise solutions, e.g. international money transfer companies like MoneyGram and Western Union recently piloting ripple’s xRapid system. Also, UAE Exchange — foreign exchange and bill payments solution — is now testing Ripple’s xCurrent platform.
Will Ripple’s technology replace the traditional banking system? Let us know your views in the comments section.
Images via penarthnews, Ripple