RTGS settles individual payments in CHAPS, the same-day electronic funds transfer service for high-value sterling payments.
CHAPS direct participants can choose:
1. To settle payments immediately (subject to available liquidity) as ‘urgent’ CHAPS payments or
2. To accept some delay in settlement to improve liquidity efficiency and submit them as ‘non-urgent’ CHAPS payments.
The choice of which CHAPS settlement service to use is entirely at the discretion of the participant. Non-urgent settlement is usually available from 06:00 until 17:30, after which outstanding non-urgent payments are auto-promoted to urgent. Participants may choose to reschedule individual CHAPS payments from non-urgent to urgent, and vice versa, until the point of settlement. On average, non-urgent payments settle around eight minutes after submission into RTGS. The processes in the RTGS infrastructure to support these two CHAPS services are run in parallel and the availability of each is reported separately.
3. Ability of RTGS and the RTGS-CREST link to support settlement in CREST
These functions are required to facilitate transfers of central bank money, arising from securities transactions between CREST participants, across the accounts held by CREST settlement banks at the Bank of England. This relies on technical links between the Bank’s RTGS infrastructure and the CREST infrastructure, operated by Euroclear. A period when CREST settlement is unavailable due to an incident with RTGS or the RTGS-CREST link to support settlement in CREST is recorded. However, CREST settlement can continue to operate even if RTGS is unavailable, by using contingency procedures.
4. Net interbank settlement of retail payment systems
Six sterling retail payment systems (Bacs, Cheque and Credit Clearing paper-based and image-based, FPS, LINK, Visa Europe) settle their net obligations, arising from customer transactions, at defined points in time during the RTGS settlement day. A delay to the execution of these net settlements that results from an RTGS incident is recorded. RTGS does not provide the infrastructure for the exchange (or ‘clearing’) of individual payment instructions in these payment systems, so the availability of that system to its end-users is not dependent on RTGS availability.
5. RTGS Enquiry Link is the online graphical user interface (GUI) that holders of a reserves or settlement account use to manage their accounts. CHAPS participants also use this GUI for CHAPS payment queue management (the ‘central scheduler’). Any period where it is not available during the RTGS settlement day is recorded.
Until 17 June 2016, the CHAPS settlement day was 6am to 4.20pm.