RTGS

The Bank of England operates the real-time gross settlement (RTGS) service, infrastructure that holds accounts for banks, building societies and other institutions.

The balances in these accounts can be used to move money in real time between these account holders. This delivers final and risk-free settlement.

PDFThe Bank's RTGS infrastructure

Resilience of the RTGS service

The RTGS service needs to be extremely operationally reliable to support final settlement between accounts that providers hold with us. The service is managed within a clear governance framework. This covers strategy, delivery and risk management. 

Changes to the RTGS service are carefully considered and tested, because of the potential for impact on our mission of maintaining monetary and financial stability. We engage on potential changes with account holders and the operators of the payment systems that settle in RTGS.

The RTGS service operates on fault-tolerant computer hardware which is replicated on a second site. The business operation is conducted on a split site basis. We have the option of using a third site and alternative technology in the form of SWIFT’s ‘Market Infrastructure Resiliency Service’.

PDFEnhancing the resilience of the Bank's RTGS infrastructure

RTGS service statistics

We publish monthly updates on the availability of our real-time gross settlement (RTGS) service and the volume and values of transactions.

Average daily RTGS settlement volumes and values

Q1 2017 Q2 2017 Q3 2017 Q4 2017 YTD
CHAPS values (£mn) £313,515 £338,736 £334,430 £348,430 £333,661
CHAPS volumes
155,852 165,647 159,284 180,614 165,285
CREST DvP values (£mn) £252,560 £269,405 £276,443 £282,266 £270,129
CREST DvP volumes 12,571 12,449 11,547 11,700 12,063
FPS net values (£mn) £781 £761
£764 £793 £775
Bacs net values (£mn) £3,101 £3,442 £3,275 £3,473 £3,321
C&CC net values (£mn) £162 £142 £127 £116 £137
Link net values (£mn) £299 £341 £325 £331 £324
Visa Europe net values (£mn) £1,594 £1,741 £1,668 £2,105 £1,776

Free industry statistics

LINK statistics and trends

The UK Cards Association facts and figures

RTGS service availability statistics

Service availability Jan
2017
Feb
2017
Mar
2017
Apr
2017
May
2017
Jun
2017
Jul
2017
Aug
2017
Sep
2017
Oct
2017
Nov
2017
Dec
2017

1.RTGS infrastructure for ‘urgent’ CHAPS settlement

100% 100% 99.76% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
100% 100%
2. RTGS infrastructure for ‘non-urgent’ CHAPS settlement 100% 100% 99.64% 100% 100% 100% 100% 99.92% 100% 100%
100% 100%
3. Ability of RTGS and the RTGS-CREST link to support settlement in CREST 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
4. Delays to net settlement of retail payment systems (minutes) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5. RTGS Enquiry Link 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 99.67% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%

 


PDFSummary of RTGS daily timetable

Service disruptions

On 4 August 2017, ’non-urgent’ CHAPS settlement was unavailable for 12 minutes from 06:07, due to a minor issue with some of the Bank’s connections to the SWIFT network.  Non-urgent CHAPS settlement resumed at 06:19.  Settlement of urgent CHAPS payments was unaffected.  All other RTGS services were unaffected.

On 5 June 2017, the RTGS Enquiry Link was unavailable for external users between 5.05am and 6.06pm due to a minor internal issue. CHAPS payment processing and CREST settlement were unaffected.

On 13 March 2017, infrastructure for urgent CHAPS settlement and non-urgent CHAPS settlement was unavailable from 2.30pm, due to a SWIFT network issue. Urgent settlement was resumed after 40 minutes at 3.10pm. Non-urgent settlement was resumed after 60 minutes at 3.30pm. All other services were unaffected.

  • Previous years

    Average daily historical RTGS settlement volumes and values

    2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
    CHAPS values (£mn) £254,489 £284,591 £277,229 £268,615 £270,400 £298,710
    CHAPS volumes
    135,555 134,665 138,245 144,353 148,412 154,006
    CREST DvP values (£mn)
    £322,118 £293,293 £303,717 £274,257 £240,480 £220,970
    CREST DvP volumes
    6,859 7,325 8,388 9,050 9,391 10,883
    FPS net values (£mn)
    £188 £502 £586 £606 £663 £677
    Bacs net values(£mn) £3,269 £3,190 £3,071 £3,122 £3,159 £3,193
    C&CC net values (£mn) £220 £232 £211 £196 £190 £156
    Link net values (£mn) £216 £235 £249 £271 £294 £315
    Visa Europe net values (£mn) N/A N/A £1,144 £1,149 £1,425 £1,531
    • All data are daily averages of transactions settled within the RTGS system.
    • CREST DvP activity in RTGS is measured by the debits applied to CREST settlement accounts at the end of each CREST settlement cycle, not the total volume or value of transactions in CREST itself.
    • Retail payment system (FPS, Bacs, C&CC, Link, Visa Europe) values represent the net interbank value of each system’s settlement across RTGS. Net interbank settlement for retail payment systems takes place within defined clearing cycles at specific points during the RTGS operating day. Therefore, no volumes data is available.
    • Visa Europe began settling net interbank obligations across RTGS in November 2013.

     

    Historical RTGS service availability

    Service availability  Jan
    2016 
    Feb
    2016 
    Mar
    2016 
     Apr
    2016
    May
    2016
     Jun
    2016
    Jul
    2016 
    Aug
    2016 
    Sep
    2016 
    Oct 
    2016 
     Nov
    2016
     Dec
    2016

    1. RTGS infrastructure for ‘urgent’ CHAPS settlement

     100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%
    2. RTGS infrastructure for ‘non-urgent’ CHAPS settlement  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100% 100%   100%  100%  100%
    3. Ability of RTGS and the RTGS-CREST link to support settlement in CREST  100%  100%  99.89%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%
    4. Delays to net settlement of retail payment systems (minutes)  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
    5. RTGS Enquiry Link  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100% 100%   100%  100%  100%  100%

     

    Service availability  Jan
    2015 
    Feb
    2015 
    Mar
    2015 
     Apr
    2015
    May
    2015
     Jun
    2015
    Jul
    2015 
    Aug
    2015 
    Sep
    2015 
    Oct 
    2015 
     Nov
    2015
     Dec
    2015

    1. RTGS infrastructure for ‘urgent’ CHAPS settlement

     100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%
    2. RTGS infrastructure for ‘non-urgent’ CHAPS settlement 99.60%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%
    3. Ability of RTGS and the RTGS-CREST link to support settlement in CREST  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  99.58%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%
    4. Delays to net settlement of retail payment systems (minutes)  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
    5. RTGS Enquiry Link  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100%  100% 100%   100%  100%  100%  99.64

    Service disruptions

    On 8 March 2016, from 12.57pm the link between RTGS and CREST was unavailable for three minutes. This caused a 15-minute period between 12.57pm to 1.12pm when CREST settlement was interrupted. At 1.12pm, CREST settlement was re-established.

    On 17 December 2015, RTGS Enquiry Link functionality was unavailable to some RTGS users for 56 minutes between 11.29am and 12.25pm due to a SWIFT network issue. CHAPS payment processing and CREST settlement were unaffected.

    On 12 June 2015, from 12.15pm the link between RTGS and CREST was unavailable. There was a 61-minute period between 12.15pm and 1.16pm when CREST settlement was interrupted. At 1.16pm, CREST settlement was restarted using contingency procedures.

    On 21 January 2015, there was a 52-minute period between 9.41am and 10.33am where RTGS suspended settlement of non-urgent CHAPS payments. Settlement of urgent payments continued unaffected. At 10.33am settlement of non-urgent payments restarted. 

  • Explanation of services

    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. 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.

Requirements for use of RTGS accounts

Holders of RTGS accounts must enter into Terms and Conditions. Annexes cover particular purposes for which the account is used.
Agreements are also in place with the operators of payment systems that settle in RTGS.

Account holders can use an online system to manage accounts in RTGS and their CHAPS payment queues. A detailed RTGS reference manual is available for RTGS account holders.

OtherRTGS accounts terms and conditions (plus annexes)

RTGS reference manual (password-protected for account holders only)

Fees for accounts

We charge fees to participants, which are reviewed annually and set in advance for the coming year. There are separate tariffs for each system. We operate on a full cost recovery basis over a defined time frame.

The tariffs for CHAPS and CREST take the form of an annual membership fee for each participant and a per-item fee reflecting volume settled via the RTGS service.

For the retail systems, there is an annual charge per participant. We do not charge a per-item fee.

PDFRTGS tariffs

The organisations that operate the payment systems set their own, separate, charges.

This page was last updated 29 January 2018
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