The Bank of England is currently conducting an investigation after its high-value payments system experienced an outage lasting around six hours on Monday. While the exact cause of the issue is being sought, the Bank has stated that it doesn’t suspect a cyber attack to be the cause at this stage.
This disruption affected the Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) service and the Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS). The Bank described the incident as a “technical issue.” Subsequently, in an update later that Monday afternoon, officials confirmed that the problems had been resolved and that CHAPS payments submitted to the Bank were once again settling normally. The Bank’s spokesperson added that no outstanding payments were expected as the system was set to close for the day.
CHAPS, primarily utilised by banks and financial institutions for high-value money market and foreign exchange transactions, also plays a crucial role in property transactions carried out by solicitors, conveyancers, and individuals purchasing high-value items like cars or making deposits on houses.
The Bank of England underscores the significance of RTGS and CHAPS, noting that they play a critical role in maintaining monetary and financial stability in the UK economy. These systems together process around £1 trillion in transactions on a daily basis.
According to the comparison site reallymoving, this August marks the busiest month for moving home in the past 11 years, with an estimated continuation of this trend in 2023.
In 2014, an RTGS outage lasting around nine hours reportedly delayed the completion of about 700 property sales. Investigations later attributed the failure to an IT glitch caused by “configuration changes” implemented during the prior weekend. The Bank received numerous compensation claims, ultimately paying out only nine claims totalling a little over £4,000.
On average, CHAPS facilitates around 205,000 payments each day.