Santander looks to launch digital wallet service in Q1 of 2018

The Ripple-based distributed ledger system will go live in four territories this spring. 

Among an extensive Santander earnings presentation that was offered up to interested parties this week, was the news that the banking giant has advanced plans to launch a digital wallet system to its retail customers in Q1 of 2018.

Its “All-in-one” Pay app will offer “Same day mobile international payments in ‘3 clicks & 40 seconds’ for [its] retail customers using distributed ledger technology.”

It expands a long-standing working relationship between Santander and Ripple, which has seen similar technology on test among members of the bank’s staff since 2016. Technology that now appears ready to be rolled-out to a wider audience.

This slide from the presentation gives and overview of the system, and appears to indicate that it will launch in Spain, Brazil, Great Britain and Poland first – allowing virtually instant p2p payments across borders between the four. When the innovation was first touted by Ripple a couple of years back, it was described as operating thus:

“Once the app is downloaded, Santander staff just need to complete their profile details and then they can start to make payments. It 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. At this time, payments made in EUR can be sent to 21 countries and US dollar payments to the U.S.

“We are providing the technology underpinning the app. Leading banks like Santander are taking advantage of our enterprise blockchain solutions to improve their cross-border payments, drastically reducing the time and cost of settlement and enabling new types of high volume, low value global transactions.”

Obviously, things have changed a little since then, but essentially this seems to describe a nascent version of the proposed app, powered by Ripple’s currency exchange and remittance network, which went live in 2012 – and has since been leveraged by various banks to streamline their bank-end infrastructure. Transactions via Ripple can be either in fiat currencies, or use Ripple’s internal currency (XRP).

Bringing this technology from behind-the-scenes and into a consumer-facing product will, as Santander put it, make it “one of the first global banks to roll out Distributed Ledger Technology based payments for individuals.”