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.

What is CHAPS (Clearing House Automated Payment System)?

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The CHAPS Clearing Company website has been archived by The National Archives.

View the archived CHAPS Co website

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 property 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 International (a trading name of Barclays Bank plc, part of the Barclays Group)
Barclays UK (a trading name of Barclays Bank UK plc, part of the Barclays Group)
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)
Elavon Financial Services DAC (UK branch)
Euroclear Bank SA/NV (Brussels Head Office)
Handelsbanken plc (a UK subsidiary of Svenska Handelsbanken AB)
HSBC Bank plc (part of the HSBC Group) 
HSBC UK Bank plc (part of the HSBC Group)
ING Bank N.V. (Amsterdam Head Office)
J.P. Morgan Chase Bank N.A. (London branch)
LCH Limited
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)
The Co-operative Bank plc
TSB Bank plc
UBS AG (London branch)
Virgin Money plc

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. 


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

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

Cost of Direct Access to CHAPS

The cost of direct participation in CHAPS includes one-off set-up costs, such as the cost of developing the necessary hardware, software and processes to connect to CHAPS and establishing sufficient expertise amongst staff. They also involve a potentially significant level of ongoing cost, such as fees and other participation costs; opportunity costs of providing collateral or holding liquid assets; hardware and software maintenance; and higher staffing costs. 

We charge CHAPS Scheme fees to Direct Participants with an annual participant charge and a per-item fee. We do not charge a joining fee but certain costs, such as external legal fees, may be recovered from Direct Participants.


Other costs that CHAPS Direct Participants can expect to incur are:

  • VocaLink charges for status changes within the Extended Industry Sort Code Directory (EISCD)
  • SWIFT tariff fees and charges for CHAPS payment and advice messages
  • Regulatory fees, including from the Payment Systems Regulator
  • Hardware and software costs such as a payments gateway or using the services of a technical aggregator 

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.

Engagement with CHAPS users

We undertake a range of layered engagement and communication with CHAPS users. This covers financial institutions with direct and indirect access to CHAPS as well as end-users. 

Strategic Advisory Forum

We host a CHAPS Strategic Advisory Forum. This is a small focused group to discuss, and provide feedback and advice on, the strategic direction of CHAPS with the Bank. It is chaired by Kevin Brown, one of the independent members of the CHAPS/RTGS Board and meets 4 times a year.

The Forum’s fourteen external members are senior, experienced executives with a good understanding of the broad interests of their sector.  The members are drawn from banks, other financial institutions, payment service providers and end-users. However, membership is in an individual capacity, not as a direct representative of their respective organisations. 

CHAPS statistics

Last month

  • In September 2019, CHAPS processed 4.0 million payments worth £7.2 trillion over 21 settlement processing days.  
  • The average daily volume was 192,239, a decrease of 0.4% from September 2018.
  • The average daily value was £341 billion, an increase of 4.3% from September 2018. 

First half of 2019

  • In the first six months of 2019, the average daily volume was 192,158, unchanged from January - June 2018.
  • In the first six months of 2019, the average daily value was 330 billion, a decrease of 2.6% from January - June 2018.

Last year

  • In 2018, CHAPS volumes grew by 16.5% to a record 48.5 million; on average 191,788 per day.
  • This surpassed the previous CHAPS volume record in 2017 of 41.7 million.
  • The total value transmitted in CHAPS in the 12 months to December 2018 declined by 0.7% to £83.5 trillion; on average £330.1 billion daily.

CHAPS record days

  • Thursday 29 March 2018, the day before the four-day Easter break, and the last working day of the quarter, saw a record 320,034 payments, worth £463bn, beating the 11-year volume record by around 38,000 (13%). Ongoing steady growth in CHAPS volumes continues to exceed migration to alternative methods of payment. 
  • The all-time peak value day was on 20 December 2017, when £468 billion was settled in CHAPS.

CHAPS in context

  • CHAPS represents 0.6% 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

  • Structural reform was one cause of the high increase in volumes from Q4 2017 onwards. 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. Some of this increase in volumes is temporary and is falling away month on month as expected. However, some of this increase is expected to be permanent. From Q4 2018 onward, these increased volumes (in Q4 2017 to early 2018) are a higher baseline for year-on-year growth, which explains the lower growth rates at present.
  • Most of CHAPS value (72% in 2018) derives from wholesale financial transactions. The value of sterling processed in CHAPS stabilised in 2018, after strong growth from mid-2015 onwards. The slight decline in CHAPS value in early 2019 is linked to decline in short-term lending (money markets) payments in CHAPS during Q1. This correlates with a 14% year-on-year decline in the Q1 2019 value of short-term unsecured loans reported to the Bank of England, while the value of secured loans grew.

ExcelHistorical monthly CHAPS statistics (updated to September 2019)

PDFQuarterly statistical release - Q2 2019

PDFAnnual summary of Payment Statistics 2018

Quarterly and annual UK payment system statistics are reported on behalf of CHAPS and the other payment system operators by the Information Management team at Pay.UK. Please contact them on 020 3217 8720 or by email for monthly statistics, previous reports or with other queries about these reports.

CHAPS Volumes for the previous 12 months

CHAPS Volumes for the previous 12 months

CHAPS Values for the previous 12 months

CHAPS Values for the previous 12 months
This page was last updated 08 October 2019
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