B2B Payments

Bank Of England Mulls Blockchain Amid ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’

The Bank of England seems to be eyeing an embrace of digital, decentralized initiatives, with room for FinTech firms and blockchain. In a series of cross-border payment announcements, the travel industry gets an “instant” boost, while Ripple gains a bit of currency in the Middle East.

The digital revolution comes to the land where the industrial revolution was born? To that end, Invest In Blockchain reported that Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, said that the central bank should gear up for a “fourth industrial revolution” that includes at least some impact to payments, chiefly through blockchain and decentralized systems.

The bank will also foster innovation among FinTech firms, said Carney at the Innovate Finance Global Summit. He noted that “new finance can unlock more sustainable and inclusive growth, provide consumers greater choice, [provide small business (SMB)] access to credit to grow — all of which ensures the financial system can become more resilient,” according to the publication. With some initiatives to focus on cross-border payments, the Bank of England would join dozens of other central banks in conducting research on or implementing blockchain solutions to speed payments and make them more transparent.

Also in the U.K., Ixaris said it is working with Banking Circle, a financial services infrastructure company, where the latter’s Virtual IBAN technology will help streamline cross-border payments within the travel space. The companies said there is the ability to transact across 25 currencies in 60 countries, without the need for physical bank accounts, as reported by Banking Tech.

“Banking Circle Virtual IBAN plays an invaluable role in delivering faster, cheaper payments to merchants transacting around the globe,” said Banking Circle CEO Anders la Cour in a statement. “Unlike traditional business-to-business cross-border payments, which can incur high bank charges and payment delays, our solution enables Ixaris to give customers their own virtual IBANs.”

In other Banking Circle news, the company said last year that it had partnered with Alibaba to facilitate digital payments.

Earlier this week, Saudi British Bank (SABB) said it is launching an instant cross-border payment service underpinned by Ripple. The bank said the launch is tied to its “strategic plan toward digital transformation,” and is among the first banks in that country to embrace Ripple for cross-border activity, having signed on last year to the Ripple blockchain technology.

As reported by CCN, the bank has roughly $50 billion in assets, and has the support of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority to use technology such as Ripple’s in payments activity. The April 2019 launch follows “the first successful Ripple-based transfer pilot transaction” of Indian rupees this past December.

In a statement on SABB’s site, Majed Najm, SABB deputy managing director of corporate and institutional banking, said, “This step is part of the bank’s ongoing efforts to provide the best banking services to customers, make use of the latest technology and global banking products available, and create methods and means to save time and effort for our customers.”


New PYMNTS Report: Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook – July 2020 

Call it the great tug-of-war. Fraudsters are teaming up to form elaborate rings that work in sync to launch account takeovers. Chris Tremont, EVP at Radius Bank, tells PYMNTS that financial institutions (FIs) can beat such highly organized fraudsters at their own game. In the July 2020 Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook, Tremont lays out how.