American Express launched instant blockchain payments for US business users sending money to select UK businesses, the company announced Thursday.

The company’s FX International Payments service is working with blockchain solution provider Ripple to enable US businesses to send funds to UK businesses that bank with Santander UK. By using blockchain, the payments are instant, trackable, and don’t require a credit card.

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Using the method, non-card payments are routed through Ripple’s network, which operates in real time, simplifies intermediary connections, and provides end-to-end visibility for increased transparency, according to the press release.

The service will reduce the cost and time of sending funds for businesses, letting companies work faster while still staying secure through American Express, according to the release.

“Transfers that used to take days will be completed in real time, allowing money to move as fast as business today,” said Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse in the release.

The real-time end-to-end visibility can also boost transparency, allowing both parties to know where the transfer is in the process and how much it costs.

The new payment method is one of the first major uses of blockchain technology, according to Reuters. It also follows a similar move from Mastercard, which recently opened its blockchain technology via its API to developers, allowing select consumers, businesses, and banks to begin making transactions using the ledger technology.

The service is already available to applicable businesses, and will be rolled out to additional customers in the future, according to the release.

“This blockchain solution opens up a new channel between the U.S. and the UK and presents significant opportunity for payments globally,” said José Luis Calderón, global head of Santander Global Transaction Banking, in the release.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. American Express has launched a blockchain-enabled payment method for US businesses sending money to select UK businesses.
  2. Initially, the method will only be an option for funds going to UK businesses that bank with Santander, but American Express said they plan to expand the network to more banks.
  3. The blockchain option reduces the cost and time of an international transfer, while also providing end-to-end visibility and tracking of the process.