Cross River Bank, Astra release first card-to-card debit transfer product

Astra, a bank-to-bank automation transfer fintech, announced partnering with state-chartered commercial banking organization Cross River Bank to launch the first-ever account-to-account (A2A) debit transfer product, according to a press release.

The new API offering will allow fintech developers to easily embed card-to-card transfers within their own applications, enabling instant fund transfers without the need for additional infrastructure such as settlement accounts or reconciliation operations.

This gives a range of financial technology products the ability to choose from several payment options when processing account-to-account (A2A) transactions via ACH or traditional card processing services.

“Never before have developers been able to leverage card payment rails like Visa to instantly transfer cash between debit cards. We are extremely excited about the product innovations our team, together with Cross River, have been able to build on our platform that will transform the industry,” Astra CEO Gil Akos stated in the release.

This developer solution is enabled by Cross River’s one-stop-shop platform that provides streamlined access to payment rails, core infrastructure and compliance frameworks.

“Cross River’s payments and banking API infrastructure allows fintechs like Astra to create value for their clients. Gil, Sam, and the entire Astra team have created a unique and differentiated way to move money, leveraging our core competency in card payments,” Cross River Bank Director of Payments Keith Vander Leest stated in the release.

The integration is also PCI compliant and ensures developers will only have limited liability for sensitive card data.

Cross River continues fintech integration push

This launch is an example of Cross River Bank’s continuing growth, prompted by the organization’s willingness to quickly adopt financial technology. The New Jersey-based institution was named Banking Dive 2020 Company of the Year, after it used a fintech-first approach to become one of the largest PPP providers in the country.

Despite Cross River being relatively small at the start of the pandemic, it utilized more than 30 partnerships to process the third-highest number of PPP loans in the country. The organization lent $6.5 billion to 198,000 small businesses through that program and ranked 12th in total dollar amount approved.

The average size of these loans was relatively low at $32,960, showing a focus on SMBs typically ignored by large banks. That is the lowest average among the top 15 lenders, according to the SBA, with Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase averaging $74,376 and $104,760 per loan respectively.

In other recent fintech news, the CFPB requested data from five major BNPL players, including Affirm, Afterpay, Klarna, PayPal and Zip, in an attempt to collect information on the risks and benefits associated with the model. Idaho Central Credit Union, Idaho’s largest credit union, also announced it will allow members to buy and sell bitcoin within its mobile app and online banking platform through an integration with Alkami and NYDIG.

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