The Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS) is the UK's same day high value payment system. CHAPS is the only UK payment system that guarantees real time finality, on any value, in 'Central bank money' as each payment instruction settles.
Launched on 9 February 1984, the CHAPS system guarantees same day settlement finality for payments of any value. Since 1996, CHAPS has used an enhanced Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system where each individual payment is settled in real time across its Direct Participants’ settlement accounts at the Bank of England.
CHAPS continues to be one of the largest RTGS systems in the world, offering efficient, risk-free and irrevocable same day payments to meet the sterling RTGS payment requirements of its 26 Direct Participants. In addition, over 5,000 financial institutions also make CHAPS payments and settle through agency arrangements with the Direct Participants. CHAPS is also a critical mechanism for ensuring liquidity in the financial markets.
Most of the daily value processed by CHAPS is from wholesale transactions where CHAPS acts as the portal through which international sterling flows take place. CHAPS is used by banks, building societies and other payment service providers to pay each other. However, it is most generally known within the UK as the payment method for house purchases, although this represents only a fraction of 1% of the daily value processed.
£76 trillion was processed through the system in 2016. As of July 2011 the total value processed since the start of CHAPS exceeded one quadrillion (£1,000,000,000,000,000) pounds.