Glitch hits Bank payment transfers

Published: Monday 20th October 2014 by The News Editor

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The Bank of England said the system it uses to transfer payments between commercial banks – including for house purchases – has been hit by a technical outage.

The central bank said computerised payments on its Real Time Gross Settlement Payment System (RTGS) were suspended at around 6am this morning after a “technical issue” was discovered following weekend routine maintenance.

Its Chaps ( Clearing House Automated Payment System ), under which same-day electronic payments for house purchases are carried out, has been affected by the failure.

The Bank said the most important payments in the wider RTGS system, which is understood to handle £277 billion of payments a day, are being handled manually.

It added that it was working to resolve the issue and all payments made today would be processed.

A spokesman said: “The Bank of England has identified a technical issue related to some routine maintenance of the RTGS payment system and has paused settlement while we resolve it.

“We are working to address this issue as quickly as possible, and restart the RTGS payment system in a controlled manner.

“The most important payments are being made manually and we can reassure the public that all payments made today will be processed.”

The Bank said it has a number of options open to it to ensure payments made today will be cleared, such as an extending the working day.

Chaps is a separate organisation to the Bank, funded by lenders who pay fees to use its services. However, Chaps does use the Bank’s RTGS network to run its system.

Chaps chief executive Phil Kenworthy said: “Chaps is currently unable to process payments. This is due to the Bank of England temporarily pausing the RTGS settlement system to resolve a technical issue.

“Chaps is currently liaising with the Bank of England who are working hard to resolve the issue – which means payments submitted today will be processed.

“Chaps will be extending its operational day to enable its participants to submit and receive Chaps payment instructions later than normal.”

Mr Kenworthy added that any customer waiting for a Chaps payment to be settled today should speak to their bank.

The Bank of England said its CREST system, which settles securities; Bacs, which processes direct debts; and Faster Payments Service, which handles online banking, are not affected by the outage.

Published: Monday 20th October 2014 by The News Editor

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