Santander UK Pilots App Powered by Ripple

close up of hands with smartphones at restaurantReal-time international payments are becoming ever-so real.

Banco Santander’s UK unit partnered with San Francisco-based settlement system Ripple to launch a pilot app to enable fast international transfers, the bank announced today. The app, currently being tested among 6,000 of Santander’s staffers, allows for next-day international transfers between the UK and 21 countries – EU members and the U.S.

Transfer amounts can vary between £10 and £10,000, and can be made at any time of the day, Ed Metzger, head of innovation technology and operations at Santander UK, told Bank Innovation.

We are aware that international payments are important to our customers, so you you can tell we are actively working in the space to bring that smooth experience to our customers soon. We will analyze how our staff members interact with the app, and what issues they may face, before rolling out to our customer base.

Currently, the app connects to Apple Pay through the Touch ID in order to perform the transfers. However, that’s not a statement on any particular operating system or payment method, Metzger said. “Our staff all carry company-issued iPhones, so it was merely a convenience factor, knowing that all of them own an iPhone,” he explained.

The industry is now at the tipping point of real-time international payments, Marcus Treacher, global head of strategic accounts at Ripple, told Bank Innovation.

It’s like when on one side you look back, and you don’t see anything significant happening. But the next day you suddenly appear on the other side, where this technology already seems obvious. That’s where the industry is now, and the fact that we have real products out there today means we are very close.

As the network expands, companies will also be able to adopt instantaneous “Rippling,” Treacher said. “We have the technology, and it’s just starting to gain the momentum,” he said. 

Adopting blockchain technology for facilitating international transfers can address several key pain points, such as smaller minimum amount requirements, faster transfers, and set sums at both sending and receiving ends.

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