SBI Nears Launch Ripple Blockchain Payments App ‘MoneyTap’ in Japan

Japanese financial services group SBI Holdings will launch its consumer payments application MoneyTap, on both Android and iOS, using Ripple’s blockchain technology.

SBI Ripple Asia, a joint venture established by SBI Holdings and San Francisco-based FinTech giant Ripple in early 2016, will soon launch ‘MoneyTap’, CEO Takashi Okita revealed on his own Twitter handle.

MoneyTap is the first real noteworthy application of Ripple’s blockchain tech for consumer-ended retail payments in Japan, enabling domestic bank customers to transact instantly 24 hours a day and seven days a week using a QR code, a phone number or a bank account number.

There is no indication – it’s also unlikely – that the technology uses XRP, Ripple’s native crypto token.

Zengin’, Japan’s decades-old national payments clearing platform, only allows domestic money transfers between users of different banks between 8:30 AM and 3:30 PM in Japan, with the added pitfalls of banking fees.

As reported by CCN in March, MoneyTap was initially announced by the SBI Ripple-led banking consortium that comprises of over 80% of Japan’s banking assets. The Japan Bank consortium was first launched in November 2016.

MoneyTap’s website does not provide a specific launch date for the mobile app but does reveal the user interface (UI) while confirming the proposed launch, in fall this year (September-December).

At launch, customers belonging to three members of the consortium will be able to use the service before its eventual rollout to the remaining 59 banks of the consortium. Thee three banks supported at launch are Suruga Bank, SBI Net Sumishin Bank and Resona Bank.

Still, MoneyTap isn’t the first consumer-based retail payments application using Ripple’s blockchain technology.

In April, Spanish banking giant Banco Santander launched a personal payments app for retail customers in Spain, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Poland. The smartphone app enables near-instant transfers, end-to-end tracking of payments with complete transparency of foreign exchange fees, all in “3 clicks and 40 seconds” according to Santander. This particular solution uses Ripple’s enterprise blockchain software xCurrent, a product that does not use XRP.

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