Ripple powers new remittance service in Kuwait

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Daniel Webber
Daniel Webber
Founder & CEO
Daniel is Founder and CEO at FXcompared and has numerous years of experience in the international finance world, especially within the media, technology and property sectors. Daniel is passionate… Read more
  • Kuwait Finance House (KFH) announced the launch of its cross border remittance service through a tweet
  • The leading public banking institution is using Ripple’s technology and its new service is free
  • KFH is the first bank to join Ripple’s Network

One of Kuwait’s leading financial institutions just launched a cross border payments service that will make it easier for customers to transfer funds to and from Saudi Arabia. The service is reportedly free but there is still no confirmation whether Kuwait Finance House will enable its users to transfer money internationally in the near future.

Expensive overseas transfer rates have always been a contentious point among customers in the past, but according to The Economist, costly remittance transactions are still prevalent despite the emergence of technological advancements. Kuwait Finance House’s partnership with Ripple is a welcome development though because it will make money transfers between the financial institution and the Saudi Al Rajhi Bank a lot more accessible.

The bank announced the new service through the social networking site Twitter. Reports note that an earlier announcement was made in 2018 when it joined RippleNet. According to its executives, the development is a “significant milestone” for the company as it is the first bank in Kuwait to join the blockchain-based network. In early January, the bank obtained the approval of the Central Bank of Kuwait after completing all requirements.

“This affirms KFH’s strategy of adopting digitization, delivering superior customer service, while demonstrating excellence in operating RippleNet remittance services in record time”, a Kuwait Finance House executive said. While the bank said that it has plans to expand its service to tap into a larger market, KFH representatives did not give a timetable as to when this will happen.

Abdullah Abou Alhous, the Group Chief Operations Officer at KFH, is delighted with the bank’s partnership with a Saudi Arabian bank as Saudi Al Rajhi is a strategic partner.

“KFH has reached the final stages of implementing ‘Instant International Transfer’ service on mobile phones through KFHonline”, the COO added. Abdullah Abou Alhous also told reporters that blockchain technology has huge potential and that the bank’s decision to join RippleNet will give KFH the means to expand its services while improving customer experience. Kuwait Finance House is one of the leading banks in the region, based on recent data.

American fintech Ripple Labs is also excited for KFH. Navin Gupta, the company's Managing Director for South Asia and MENA said: “Kuwait and KSA are large economies in the GCC and Ripple is excited to get customers of KFH to send instant payments into Al Rajhi Bank in KSA.”

Gupta added that Ripple Labs will keep on working with the bank to expand the instant money transfer service as well as ensure faster and cheaper settlements.

Ripple is gaining ground in the region. Back in October, Bahrain-based payment gateway SADAD started using Ripple’s xRapid for its money transfers. Other banks in the Middle East are reportedly looking into Ripple’s services to improve their processes.

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