April 6, 2015
For its UK launch, Fidor, the German virtual only bank, is not able to gain secure access to UK’s payments infrastructure, as reported by The Telegraph.
Fidor Bank, based out of Munich in Germany, has been offering virtual accounts to customers since 2009. The company boasts of more than 200,000 customers to date. Fidor Bank is the lone major player in virtual banking to have its own banking license. Thus, it offers special services like peer-to-peer lending, crowd-sourcing, and bonus payments for interactions within the community.
Fidor had been looking to launch its services in UK by the end of March. But major banks in UK such as RBS, HSBC, Lloyds and Barclays, who have direct access to the infrastructure and act as sponsor banks, are not in favor of supporting Fidor. A new Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has been set up in UK recently which will review the accessibility to UK’s infrastructure. The regulatory body is concerned about the limited number of sponsor banks available that can indirectly provide the access.
Fidor is expecting that post the review process, things would be easier and is now planning the launch by the end of this year. Fidor has been far ahead of traditional banks in terms of their digital banking services.
Fidor has also been actively adopting cryptocurrencies in its banking services. Fidor has partnered with Kraken, Ripple Labs and Bitcoin.de in order to showcase itself as a promising and innovative banking partner in the world of digital currencies. Through such partnerships, Fidor has been developing expertise and a wide ranging network in the cryptocurrency domain. Fidor has been the first ever to take on the initiative of a cryptocurrency bank and create a one-of-a-kind licensed and regulated financial services entity in the virtual currency sector.
Fidor is also using Ripple as a real time global settlement protocol. With the integration of Ripple, Fidor users can instantly transfer any amount of money in any currency, at competitive rates via existing Fidor money transfer products. Fidor also uses Ripple for intra-bank payments between its German bank and its banks in other countries to lower the costs associated with settlement and foreign exchange risk and to increase transfer speeds for users and the bank.