CHAPS

CHAPS is a sterling same-day system that is used to settle high-value wholesale payments as well as time-critical, lower-value payments like buying or paying a deposit on a property.

clock The CHAPS system is usually open from 6.00 to 18:00, Monday to Friday.

Updates to service availability will appear here.  

What is CHAPS?

Responsibility for the CHAPS system transferred to the Bank of England in November 2017.

CHAPS is one of the largest high-value payment systems in the world, providing efficient, settlement risk-free and irrevocable payments. There are over 25 direct participants and over five thousand financial institutions that make CHAPS payments through one of the direct participants. 

The CHAPS Clearing Company website has been archived by The National Archives.

The National Archives

Who uses CHAPS?

Direct participants in CHAPS include the traditional high-street banks and a number of international and custody banks. Many more financial institutions access the system indirectly and make their payments via direct participants. This is known as agency or correspondent banking.

CHAPS payments have several main uses:

  • Financial institutions and some of the largest businesses use CHAPS to settle money market and foreign exchange transactions
  • Corporates use CHAPS for high value and time-sensitive payments such as to suppliers or for payment of taxes
  • CHAPS is commonly used by solicitors and conveyancers to complete housing and other properly transactions
  • Individuals may use CHAPS to buy high-value items such as a car or pay a deposit for a house

CHAPS Direct Participants

Bank of America N.A. (London branch)
Bank of China Limited (London branch)
Bank of England
Bank of New York Mellon (London branch)
Bank of Scotland plc (part of the Lloyds Banking Group)
Barclays Bank plc
BNP Paribas SA (London branch)
Citibank N.A. (London branch)
ClearBank Limited
CLS Bank International (an Edge Act Bank based in New York)
Clydesdale Bank plc
Danske Bank (a trading name of Northern Bank Limited, part of the Danske Bank Group)
Deutsche Bank AG (London branch)
HSBC Bank plc
J.P. Morgan Chase Bank N.A. (London branch)
Lloyds Bank plc (part of the Lloyds Banking Group)
National Westminster Bank plc (part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group)
Northern Trust Company (London branch)
Royal Bank of Scotland plc (part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group)
Santander UK plc (part of the Banco Santander Group)
Societe Generale (Paris Head Office)
Standard Chartered Bank plc
State Street Bank and Trust Company (London branch)
Svenska Handelsbanken AB (London branch)
The Co-operative Bank plc
UBS AG (London branch)

How does CHAPS work?

Payment obligations between direct participants are settled individually on a gross basis in RTGS on the same day that they are submitted. The transfer of funds is irrevocable between the direct participants.

Operating hours: The CHAPS system opens at 6am each working day. Participants must be open to receive by 8am and must send by 10am. CHAPS closes at 6pm for bank-to-bank payments. Customer payments must be submitted by 5.40pm. 

CHAPS

What are the benefits of CHAPS payments?

Direct access to CHAPS supports secure and efficient provision of high value, same day payments from payment service providers to their customers. There is no minimum or maximum payment limit.

High level of operational resilience based on the Bank’s real-time gross settlement infrastructure and the SWIFT messaging network.

Settlement risk is eliminated between CHAPS direct participants, at the cost of an increased need for liquidity, making this model best suited to a high-value payment system with the largest potential systemic risk.

Requirements for Direct Access to CHAPS

To become and remain a CHAPS direct participant an organisation must meet certain criteria. If you would like to know more about direct access please contact chapsenquiries@bankofengland.co.uk

An organisation must:

  • Hold a reserves or settlement account at the Bank
  • Be participant within the definition set out in the Financial Markets and Insolvency Regulations 1999
  • If domiciled outside England and Wales, provide information about company status and settlement finality through a legal opinion
  • Satisfy the Bank on security and resilience arrangements through a standard attestation process
  • Comply with the CHAPS Reference Manual on an ongoing basis

Technical requirements include access to the SWIFT network compromising one or more BICs, use of SWIFT FIN Copy, appropriate interfaces to connect to the SWIFT network and process messages. Other important components are access to an Enquiry Link facility provided by the Bank and the Extended Industry Sort Code Database which is supplied by VocaLink.

Access to UK payment systems

Introduction to the UK's payment schemes

PDFCHAPS reference manual

PDF CHAPS technical requirements 

CHAPS payments for customers

Indirect participants access the CHAPS system through one of the Direct Participants based on a commercial and contractual arrangement. The Direct Participant makes and receives payments on behalf of indirect participants and other customers including business and individuals. 

  • In 2015, the Payment Systems Regulator found that indirect participants typically pay around £2 to £3 per CHAPS payment, with a maximum of £30. End-users typically pay between £25 and £30.

The Bank hosts a Strategic Advisory Forum and a Service User Group for those with an interest in CHAPS.

  • The Strategic Advisory Forum is a small focused group to provide strategic input to the Bank. It is chaired by one of the independent members of the CHAPS/RTGS Board.
  • The Service User Group is open to all interested organisations such as direct and indirect participants, end-users and relevant trade associations. The Service User Group presents an opportunity to hear first-hand about delivery of the CHAPS system including benefits, risk reduction, and innovation. We also welcome input from service users in these areas to help us understand how we can support users.

If you wish to join the Service User Group please contact us on chapsenquiries@bankofengland.co.uk

Board minutes from the CHAPS Clearing Company (the previous operator) are available through The National Archives or via chapsenquiries@bankofengland.co.uk

The National Archives

CHAPS statistics

Last month

  • In November 2017, CHAPS processed 4.0 million payments worth £7.5 trillion over 22 settlement processing days. 
  • The average daily volume was 180,203, an increase of 18.4% from November 2016. 
  • Structural reform was one cause of the high increase in volumes. This is the ring-fencing of the largest banks, to protect the retail services they provide from wholesale and risk taking activities elsewhere in their banking group. 
  • The average daily value was £343 billion, an increase of 15.3% from November 2016.

First half of 2017

  • The average daily volume was 160,632, an increase of 4.8% from January - June 2016.
  • The average daily value was £326 billion, an increase of 11.2% from January - June 2016.

Last year

  • In 2016 CHAPS volumes grew by 3.8% to a record 39.0 million; on average 154,006 a day.
  • The total value transmitted in CHAPS in 2016 grew by 10.5% to a record £75.6 trillion, on average £299 billion daily.
  • This surpassed the previous CHAPS records for both volume (37.5 million payments in 2015) and value of pounds sterling (£73.6 trillion in 2008).

CHAPS in context

  • CHAPS represents 0.5% of UK total payment volumes but 92% of total sterling payment values (excluding internalised flows within payment service providers).
  • CHAPS turns over the annual UK GDP every 6 working days.

Market effects

  • The value of sterling processed in CHAPS has increased significantly from mid-2015 onwards, and from 2016 onwards it has surpassed levels last seen during the 2008 financial crisis. Most of the value (75%) derives from wholesale financial transactions.
  • Interbank use of CHAPS for the highest value payments, particularly corporate treasury, recovered in 2016 from ongoing decline in 2015.
  • CHAPS value usually increases in times of uncertainty. Part of the growth in 2016 reflected volatile financial markets. These responded to geopolitical events such as the result of the UK referendum on membership of the EU in June 2016.
  • Exceptionally high mergers and acquisitions in 2016, mostly arising from large takeover deals agreed in 2015, also contributed to CHAPS value growth.
  • The EU referendum related fall of sterling boosted the UK’s international trade from mid-2016 onwards, creating higher-than-expected CHAPS volume growth.
  • CHAPS saw a record peak volume period at the end of March 2016, from property completions brought forward in advance of changes to the Stamp Duty Land Tax. This was followed by lower volumes in April and May. The effect of this on CHAPS monthly volume trends can be seen in the chart below, which shows the year-on-year percentage volume change from these unusual effects, in this March and the months following.

ExcelHistorical monthly CHAPS statistics (updated to November 2017)

Quarterly statistical release - Q3 2017

Clearing statistics (annual summary 2016)

 

CHAPS Volumes for the previous 12 months

chaps-volume-chart

CHAPS Values for the previous 12 months

chaps-values-chart
This page was last updated 06 December 2017
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