CHAPS originally stood for Clearing House Automated Payment System, however nowadays it’s only referred to by its acronym. It is a same-day automated payment system for processing payments made within the UK. It is primarily used for very high value payments and is used by corporates who make large numbers of these payments but it can be used by individuals too, although there is normally a charge of £25 to £30.

What would I use this for?

  • The most common one is when buying property. Solicitors will use CHAPS payments to transfer the purchase price of a house between the bank accounts of those involved. It’s also sometimes used by people buying or selling a high-value item, such as a car, when they need a secure, urgent, same-day guaranteed payment.
  • The main benefit of CHAPS is that it is fast, as the money is transferred the same day. Banks themselves use CHAPS to move money around the financial system but there are several situations where individuals use it too.

How do I use it?

  • When you set up a CHAPS transfer you will normally need to visit a branch of your bank and take your bank card and a form of identification such as your driving licence.
  • Before making a CHAPS payment it is worthwhile checking your bank’s value limit for sending a Faster Payment as potentially payments of up to £100,000 can be sent via this payment system and if this system is an option it is likely to be cheaper or even free.

Security

  • You will get a refund from your bank if you are an innocent victim of fraud.
  • Consumer protection providing immediate refund will apply if you are an innocent victim of fraud – your claim needs to be made within the 13 months of fraudulent transaction leaving your account. Payments require your authorisation in advance and your bank must tell you what information the payment will be processed on (e.g. account number and sort code). If you give the correct information and your payment goes astray your bank must make immediate efforts to trace the transaction and notify you of the outcome. In this case the transaction will be refunded. If you give incorrect information and the payment goes astray your bank must make ‘reasonable efforts’ to trace the transaction but may charge for doing so. However, they have no liability for getting the funds back. Claims must be made within 13 months. Once the money is in their account, it cannot be recalled without the recipeint’s consent.

Useful information

  • CHAPS payments can be sent to most UK bank accounts and will arrive and can be drawn on the same day providing the funds are released before 3pm. It’s only used for Sterling transactions and payments are unconditional – once they’ve been made they can’t be recalled without the recipient’s consent. There are no limits either so CHAPS is typically used for high value payments.
  • The Sort Code Checker on the Payments Council website shows you whether the account you’re sending money to can receive the funds through CHAPS.

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