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What is CHAPS?

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The Clearing House Automated Payments System, or CHAPS for short, is a system used for processing payments in the UK. It’s operated by the CHAPS Clearing Company, a subsidiary of the Bank of England.

CHAPS is available to all financial institutions that have settlement accounts with the Bank of England. The system tends to be used for large payments – around £10,000 or more. It’s able to transfer these large payments in around 1-2 days.

Using CHAPS is expensive, with significant annual and per-item fees.

How it works

Companies that want to use CHAPS must have an account at a bank that participates in the CHAPS system.

They then need to provide the bank with the necessary information, including:

  • Recipient’s name and bank details
  • How much is being transferred
  • Any necessary reference information

The bank sends this information to the CHAPS Clearing Company, which processes the payment and sends the requested amount. The processing usually takes place within the same day, though some banks may have cut-off times.


CHAPS may be a viable solution for established companies operating within the UK, but for companies with operations outside the globe, this solution may not be quite right. Here are just a few of the setbacks that come with CHAPS:

Limited international reach

Companies can’t use CHAPS to make international payments because it’s a UK-specific payment method. Companies with a global workforce will need to rely on another alternative.


Speed is another factor to consider. CHAPS transfers need to be done manually, which can slow the payment process down significantly.

Lack of integration with other systems

Because CHAPS transfers are done through a bank, they can present a challenge for companies with their own payments system or payroll software. Lack of integration means not being able to properly track all the payments being made.

These challenges have led to a lot of companies opting for faster payment methods, including relying on global payroll providers that can handle global payroll payments transfers.

The future of CHAPS

There’s a reason CHAPS is still standing in the UK as a popular payment option for quick transfers of large sums: it’s secure, reliable, and sits on an established infrastructure.

On top of that, in February 2023 the Bank of England announced that it will be updating its RTGS system (the underlying system of CHAPS) to reflect the changes happening in the payments ecosystem – modernizing CHAPS’ functions, in short.

Still, new innovative payment methods are making headway. And while a lot of these haven’t garnered the same respect and trustworthiness as CHAPS, some have come out strong with their own regulated infrastructure that can outweigh CHAPS in several arenas, including transferring time-sensitive funds across the globe.

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