Direct access to CHAPS
The typical timeline for joining CHAPS is around twelve to eighteen months from an initial meeting. Applicants must demonstrate their ability to meet the eligibility criteria set out in the CHAPS Reference Manual and comply with the technical and operational requirements. This is through a self-attestation model as well as technical testing. Applicants are also expected to provide information on their business model and rationale for seeking direct access to the CHAPS payment system. The Bank undertakes a series of risk assessments based on this information, including ahead of allocating a joining date.
In January 2022, a refreshed version of the CHAPS Reference Manual took effect. This was the final step in a programme of work to enhance the CHAPS Reference Manual. The new version is simpler, reduces duplication, and seeks to reduce the burden on CHAPS Direct Participants while maintaining an appropriate level of risk management. We also introduced sections on security and outsourcing; the latter facilitating the potential for CHAPS Direct Participants to use cloud-based solutions for processing CHAPS payments.
The Bank is currently undertaking a major programme to renew the RTGS service including adopting the ISO 20022 messaging standard for CHAPS payments from April 2023; and a new core ledger in spring 2024. Each change requires technical preparation, including change freezes to the current RTGS infrastructure to safely deliver the necessary changes.
The renewed RTGS service will be built to support a substantial increase in the number of CHAPS direct participants – with a simpler and more proportionate joining process than now. For example, testing will be streamlined for new joiners as well as existing CHAPS direct participants.
Given the changes underway, the number of slots available to join CHAPS has reduced during the transition period to the renewed RTGS service. The final slots ahead of the introduction of a new core ledger for RTGS in spring 2024 have been allocated. The next available joining date for CHAPS is unlikely to be until the second half of 2024. In the meantime, we continue to welcome expressions of interest for direct access to CHAPS from eligible organisations who want to understand the relevant rules and future technical requirements with a view to being ready to join from 2024 onwards.
If you would like to know more about direct access to CHAPS please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Indirect access to CHAPS
For those interested in indirect access, the Access to Payments website includes a list of Indirect Access Providers and details of their offerings.