AmEx Intros Blockchain-Enabled Cross-Border B2B Payments

American Express is the latest industry giant to jump aboard the fast-moving Blockchain Express, as we like to call it. Today, AmEx announced its new service and collaboration with two partners to provide blockchain-enabled, business-to-business, international cross-border payments.

For those unfamiliar with blockchain technology, it can be described in simple terms as a secure method for electronically transferring money or files using decentralized, distributed computers that record the path of each transaction as it moves along, block-to-block, until it reaches its intended destination. Blockchain technology first came to use as a secure way to move financial assets like Bitcoin, because the chain provides a record that cannot cannot be altered after the fact.

Evolving the Way We Move Money

Under this new initiative to make blockchain payments commercially available, the American Express FX International Payments (FXIP) division is working with Ripple, a proven provider of enterprise global blockchain solutions. The joint payment-transfer solution will help reduce the time and cost for transfer payments to settle, and provide other benefits for business-to-business (B2B) buyers and sellers.

The initial service will focus on payments between US and UK businesses, with Santander UK managing the transaction channel. Further expansions are expected soon.

AmEx Executive VP and CIO Marc Gordon said the collaboration with Ripple and Santander represents the next step forward on the blockchain journey for American Express, "evolving the way we move money around the world."

Speed Is Key

By integrating Ripple into the American Express FXIP platform, non-card payments can be routed through Ripple's real-time payment network, known as RippleNet. Compared with traditional payment processes, blockchain-enabled payments improve international transactions by simplifying connections with intermediaries, and by providing immediate, end-to-end visibility into transaction status and cost.

When it comes to moving money, speed is obviously a key factor.

"We've already seen evidence that blockchain technology is playing a transformational...

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