American Express uses blockchain tech from Ripple for trans-Atlantic fund transfers

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The initial service will focus on payments between U.S. and UK businesses, with Santander UK managing the transaction channel.

The move, lauded by Greg Keeley, EVP of Global Corporate Payments at American Express, is expected to improve transaction processing times while maintaining the required security levels.

Santander and American Express executives have noted that blockchain technology, the same system that powers bitcoin, is able to make the formerly impossible possible.

"This collaboration with Ripple and Santander represents the next step forward on our blockchain journey, evolving the way we move money around the world", Marc Gordon, executive vice president and chief information officer at American Express, said in a statement Thursday. The joint payment-transfer solution will help reduce the time and cost for transfer payments to settle, and provide other benefits for business-to-business (B2B) buyers and sellers.

"I believe this represents the first time any USA banking customers can move money internationally with same-day settlement, which is a huge financial and economic milestone", said Logan Kugler, managing partner at General Crypto, a cryptocurrency investment fund. As expansion continues, Ripple's payment network will have the ability to enable American Express to connect with customers elsewhere around the world.

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José Luis Calderón, global head of Santander global transaction banking, said, "We are committed to creating a leading international payment eco-system meeting the needs of companies and customers worldwide. Collaborating with forward-thinking businesses has enabled us to deliver this cutting-edge, secure, friction-free payment solution and extend our "Simple, Personal, Fair" philosophy to American Express and their customers".

The two financial powerhouses will now be directing American Express' FX International Payments platform (FXIP) - which Santander relies upon for its own cross-border payments services - through the Ripple cryptocurrency's RippleNet network.

The transactions will happen in real-time, as opposed to the days that it normally takes, according to Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse.

FXIP's partnership with Santander UK to send cross-border payments between the U.S and U.K will help American Express establish a wider footprint in the United Kingdom.