If you’ve ever had to make a high-value payment, it’s likely that you were using CHAPS to make the transfer. In this guide, we’ll talk about the CHAPS system and explain everything you need to know about CHAPS payments.

What is a CHAPS payment?

A CHAPS payment is like a regular bank transfer (where funds move between two accounts) but CHAPS is often characterised by being high-value payments. A lot of money flows through the CHAPS system. According to the Bank of England, the average daily value of CHAPS payments in February 2021 was £341 billion.

CHAPS can only be used to settle sterling transactions within the UK and the system is managed by the Bank of England.

What does CHAPS mean?

CHAPS stands for Clearing House Automated Payment System.

CHAPS was established in 1984 by the Bankers Clearing House in London, but throughout its history, the CHAPS system has been operated by many different companies, until the Bank of England overtook this responsibility in 2017.

How does CHAPS work?

CHAPS payments are a type of bank transfer and the payment methods are similar. Depending on your bank, you can set up a CHAPS payment by visiting your branch and some banks might let you do this online. Just remember to have all the payment and payee details ready.

If you’re a Starling customer and want to make a CHAPS payment (any transfer above £500,000), please get in touch with our customer service. Read more about making CHAPS payments with Starling.

Which banks use CHAPS?

Most UK banks are able to send and receive CHAPS payments, but not all are ‘direct participants’ of the CHAPS system.

A bank doesn’t have to be a direct participant of the system to send and receive CHAPS payments. Many use third-party sponsors or intermediaries to process the CHAPS payments for them. This is currently the case for Starling.

Our sort code checker will tell you if your bank accepts CHAPS payments. Just enter your bank’s sort code to find out.

According to the Bank of England, these are the direct participants of CHAPS:

  • Banco Santander, S.A. (London branch)
  • Bank of America N.A. (London branch)
  • Bank of China Limited (London branch)
  • Bank of England
  • Bank of New York Mellon (London branch)
  • Bank of Scotland plc (part of the Lloyds Banking Group)
  • Barclays International (a trading name of Barclays Bank plc, part of the Barclays Group)
  • Barclays UK (a trading name of Barclays Bank UK plc, part of the Barclays Group)
  • BNP Paribas SA (London branch)
  • Citibank N.A. (London branch)
  • ClearBank Limited
  • CLS Bank International (an Edge Act Bank based in New York)
  • Clydesdale (a trading name of Clydesdale Bank plc, part of the Virgin Money UK PLC Group)
  • Danske Bank (a trading name of Northern Bank Limited, part of the Danske Bank Group)
  • Deutsche Bank AG (London branch)
  • Elavon Financial Services DAC (UK branch)
  • Euroclear Bank SA/NV (Brussels Head Office)
  • Handelsbanken plc (a UK subsidiary of Svenska Handelsbanken AB)
  • HSBC Bank plc (part of the HSBC Group)
  • HSBC UK Ban