British bank Santander UK plc, wholly owned by the Spanish Santander Group (BME: SAN) announced they are the first UK bank to introduce blockchain technology which facilitates international payments, through a new app. It is currently being rolled out as a staff pilot, with the intention to expand the technology at a later date.
Once the app is downloaded, users need to complete their profile details and can then start to make payments. The app connects to Apple Pay, where users can confirm payments securely using Touch ID. It lets users transfer between £10 and £10,000 and payments can be made from GBP to EUR and USD. Currently, payments made in EUR can be sent to 21 countries and US Dollar payments to the USA only.
Marco Streng, CEO and Co-founder of Genesis Mining wrote on LeapRate back in September that major banking institutions such as Citi, UBS, Barclays, Goldman Sachs and Societe Generale are also interested in researching and utilizing blockchain technology.
The blockchain technology underpinning the app is provided by Ripple, a company which Santander Innoventures has also invested in. Working with Ripple builds on Santander’s philosophy of collaborating with the most innovative companies to consistently provide better services to customers.
Sigga Sigurdardottir, Head of Customer and Innovation at Santander 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.
Chris Larsen, Chief Executive Officer at Ripple said:
“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.”
Blockchain is better known as the network that enables virtual currencies to pass through from sender to receiver. Its technology can be used in many other ways that can have a game changing impact to business models and industries. For banks, it can enable the transfer of data and value in a more accurate and faster way. All transactions are recorded uniquely which also helps to improve fraud protection.
In line with all new technology launched by Santander, security is of paramount importance. Security and regulatory compliance is central to all activity undertaken at Santander and this app has undergone the same rigorous testing all new technology goes through ahead of roll out.