London-based fintech is developing a blockchain payments card
Fintech company SETL has developed the card with global auditing firm Deloitte.
Customers of the UK's Metro Bank will soon be able to use a payments card that utilises blockchain technology. The card, which is being developed by Deloitte and fintech company SETL, is intended for the retail sector, the aim being to reduce the cost of processing merchant payments compared to credit and debit cards.
The service could launch as soon as early 2017.
SETL CEO Peter Randall said the card will update the balances of both the retailer and the customer in real-time.
"What this allows people to do is to effectively make a payment from their account to the merchant's account, completely encrypted end-to-end, without having to go through all the existing very expensive legacy infrastructure," he said.
The card has been tested by 100 customers who used it to purchase cupcakes in Sterling. It used Deloitte's Smart Identity blockchain system, with the customer data that had been stored by Deloitte being sent to SETL following certification in the blockchain. SETL then sets up user credentials.
Metro Bank CEO Craig Donaldson said the retail payments industry has been dominated for too long in what has become a "detriment to customers".
"Given all the potential that blockchain has to offer, we hope that the success of today's test will play a key role in moving us a step closer to providing a more efficient and flexible service for customers," he said.