A consortium of 61 Japanese banks, comprising over 80% of the country’s banking assets, are gearing toward the launch of a retail consumer payments app using Ripple blockchain technology.
Titled “MoneyTap”, the new smartphone application will enable customers of 61 banks to settle instant domestic transactions in Japan using San Francisco-based FinTech startup Ripple’s blockchain technology. An announcement by the company confirms customers will be able to trigger domestic money transfers for instant transactions 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Led by SBI Ripple Asia, the Japan Bank consortium was first launched in November 2016 with 42 members in a concentrated effort to develop blockchain solutions in payments and settlements. The consortium has since swelled to 61-member banks that account for over 80% of all banking assets in Japan. Customers from the consortium’s banks will be able to make instant domestic payments using a QR code, phone number or a bank account number, Ripple adds, resulting in a far easier and convenient process compared to traditional bank transfers.
Japan’s current national payments clearing platform, ‘Zengin’, only allows domestic money transfers between 8:30 AM and 3:30 PM in the country, with the added burden of existing banking and/or ATM fees. Ripple contends that its blockchain-based payments app will make for faster and cheaper domestic money transfers.
SBI Ripple Asia CEO Takashi Okita added:
“Together with the trust, reliability and reach of the bank consortium, we can remove friction from payments and create a faster, safer, and more efficient domestic payments experience for our customers.”
At launch, three members of the consortium in SBI Net Sumishin Bank, Suruga Bank and Resona Bank will go live with the app in autumn 2018 followed by a ‘staggered rollout’ for the remaining 59 banks, Ripple said.
The effort represents the first notable application in consumer-ended retail payments over a blockchain by SBI Ripple Asia, a joint venture by Japanese financial services giant SBI Group and Ripple. The soon-to-launch blockchain payments app follows a notably successful money transfer pilot between the consortium’s banks over a year ago.
Since then, SBI Ripple Asia has also forayed beyond Japan’s borders in piloting international blockchain remittance transfers between Japanese and South Korean banks. A separate pilot between Japan and Thailand over Ripple’s blockchain resulted in a bank transfer within “two to five seconds”.