BBVA Eyes B2B With First Real-Time Blockchain Payments


Spain’s number two bank, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, or BBVA, said Friday (April 21) that it has successfully completed its first cross-border payment using blockchain technology from Ripple.

According to reports, BBVA transferred 50 payments in Euros from Spain to Mexico, with the transaction taking only a few seconds. According to the bank, these transactions would typically take days.

“It’s not just the real-time transfer that’s important here but the information we can send with the payment,” explained Alicia Pertusa, head of the bank’s Digital Transformation in Investment Banking unit, in an interview with Bloomberg Technology. “That’s very relevant for our clients because they could begin streamlining their reconciliation systems.”

The information captured alongside a transaction can be critical in B2B payments, especially for companies that need to reconcile payments made on outstanding invoices, for instance.

Reports said BBVA currently uses the SWIFT banking system to facilitate cross-border payments but that it is “incapable of providing” payment tracking or the ability for clients to see exactly how much it would cost to complete a payment.

“It’s also too rudimentary to convey details on what payments are for,” the publication stated. “This dearth of data has forced companies to maintain costly accounting operations to reconcile their overseas transactions.”

BBVA will begin testing these real-time payment capabilities, which use Ripple’s distributed ledger technology, with a small group of corporate customers in the coming weeks, according to Pertusa.

The bank first stepped into the world of real-time payments when its U.S. subsidiary BBVA Compass, based in the U.S., launched a partnership with digital payments network Dwolla to provide real-time payment capabilities.