Santander has become the first UK bank to use blockchain technology to facilitate international payments.
The bank is piloting the technology in the form of a new mobile app, with the intention of expanding its use at a later date.
Users of the app can transfer between £10 and £10,000 and make payments from GBP to EUR and USD. By connecting to Apple Pay, users can confirm payments using fingerprint recognition.
Currently, payments made in EUR can be sent to 21 countries and USD payments to the USA only. Funds will appear in the recipients account the next working day.
The blockchain technology underpinning the app is provided by Ripple, a US-based company Santander has backed through its fintech VC fund.
Blockchain is better known as the network that enables virtual currencies to pass through from sender to receiver, but its technology can be used in many other ways.
For banks, it can enable the transfer of data and value quicker and more accurately. All transactions are recorded uniquely which also helps to improve fraud protection.
Ripple’s CEO Chris Larsen said: “As an early adopter and pioneer in the banking industry, Santander is the first bank in the world to transfer real funds externally.”
Sigga Sigurdardottir, head of customer and innovation at Santander, added: “We 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.”