Santander is the first UK bank to use blockchain technology for international payments, using Ripple, a technology the bank has supported for some time.

The new application is currently being rolled out as a staff pilot for payments of between £10 and £10,000. These can be made around the clock, and funds will appear in the recipient's account the next working day, said a statement. The intention is to expand the technology at a later date, added the bank.

Once the app is downloaded, users need to complete their profile details and can then start to make payments. It connects to Apple Pay, where users can confirm payments securely using Touch ID. Payments can be made from GBP to EUR and USD; currently, payments made in EUR can be sent to 21 countries and US Dollar payments to the USA only, said Santander in a statement.

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."

Chris Larsen, chief executive officer at Ripple 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."

Blockchain is better known as the network that enables virtual currencies to pass through from sender to receiver. For banks, it can enable the transfer of data and value in a more accurate and faster way. All transactions are recorded uniquely that also helps to improve fraud protection.

Security and regulatory compliance is central to all activity undertaken at Santander and this app has undergone the same rigorous testing all new technology goes through ahead of roll out, said the bank.