CHAPS originally stood for Clearing House Automated Payment System. 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. 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 reason to use CHAPS 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 some 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 as a result of an unauthorised transaction. An unauthorised transaction is a payment from an account which has taken place without the permission of the account holder. This can include transactions that are the result of a fraudster gaining unauthorised access to a customer’s account, but does not include any payments that the customer has authorised themselves.
  • 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 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. 

 

Useful information

  • CHAPS payments can be sent to most UK bank accounts. 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.
  • This Sort Code Checker shows you whether the account you’re sending money to can receive the funds through CHAPS.