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.

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 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The CHAPS Clearing Company website has been archived by The National Archives.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 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)
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)
Svenska Handelsbanken AB (London branch)
The Co-operative 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. 

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

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.

PDFRTGS and CHAPS fees

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 understand 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. 

PDFSummary of CHAPS Strategic Advisory Forum 5 July 2018

PDF Summary of CHAPS Strategic Advisory Forum 23 April 2018

PDFTerms of Reference for CHAPS Strategic Advisory Forum - May 2018

Communicating with users

We are committed to giving appropriate voice to users in how we govern the CHAPS system. While the Strategic Advisory Forum has a vital role to play, we appreciate there is a large and diverse population of stakeholders with different interests.

We will communicate with CHAPS users through a layered approach. Some communication will come directly from us. Communication will include two-way engagement for us to seek views from, and respond to, users. In some instances, we will engage through other organisations, such as trade associations, to effectively reach a wider population.  

Please contact us at chapsenquiries@bankofengland.co.uk if you’d like to be added to our contact list in order to receive CHAPS-related updates.

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 July 2018, CHAPS processed 4.2 million payments worth £7.2 trillion over 22 settlement processing days. 
  • The average daily volume was 189,149, an increase of 17.6% from July 2017. 
  • The average daily value was £325 billion, a decrease of 3.3% from July 2017. 

First half of 2018

  • In the first six months of 2018, the average daily volume was 192,155, an increase of 19.6% from January - June 2017. 
  • The average daily value was £338 billion, an increase of 3.8% from January - June 2017. 

Last year

  • In 2017 CHAPS volumes grew by 6.9% to a record 41.7 million; on average 165,285 a day. 
  • The total value transmitted in CHAPS in 2017 grew by 11.3% to a record £84.1 trillion, on average £334 billion daily. 
  • This surpassed the previous CHAPS records in 2016 for both volume (39.0 million) and value (£75.6 trillion). 

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 0.5% of UK total payment volumes but 93% 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 expected to be temporary and fall away later in 2018, and some to be permanent.
  • 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 (74%) derives from wholesale financial transactions.
  • The EU referendum related fall of sterling boosted the UK’s international trade from mid-2016 onwards, creating higher-than-expected CHAPS volume growth.

ExcelHistorical monthly CHAPS statistics (updated to July 2018)

PDFQuarterly statistical release - Q1 2018

PDFClearing statistics (annual summary 2017)

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 UK Payments Administration Ltd. Please contact them on 020 3217 8720 or by email inform@camis.org.uk for monthly statistics, previous reports or with other queries about these reports.

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 02 August 2018
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