Santander UK has selected Ripple’s technology to launch a blockchain-based international payments app.

The new app is currently being rolled out as a staff pilot for payments of between £10 and £10,000, but the lender plans to launch the app for customers before the end of 2016.

The app makes use of the Apple Pay mobile payments app as an interface and presently supports GBP-to-EUR transactions for 21 European counties. However, GBP-to-USD payments can be sent only to the US.

The app leverages Ripple’s distributed ledger as the payment rail and settles those funds in accounts the following day.

Sigga Sigurdardottir, head of customer and innovation at Santander, said: "The need for finance has evolved from providing a physical pound in your pocket or card in your purse, where you pay at a till, to being seamlessly integrated into a new, always on, connected lifestyle.

"At Santander we work hard to ensure our banking is simple, personal and fair and believe new blockchain technology will play a transformational role in the way we achieve our goals and better serve our customers, adding value by creating more choice and convenience."

Ripple co-founder and CEO Chris Larsen said: "Ripple is redefining the way that value moves around the world, and today we’re already enabling real-time, affordable international settlement between banks who have adopted our solutions.

"As an early adopter and pioneer in the banking industry, Santander is the first bank in the world to transfer real funds externally. In doing so, they are creating a new, exemplary standard of service."