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Bank of England outage hits key payments systems processing billions - P.A.MEDIA

AUGUST 14, 2023

The Bank of England says it has resolved a technical issue which shut down a vital system that processes around £1 trillion in transactions every day.

The central bank said the issue had been fixed and the systems were running normally.

The issue hit its real-time gross settlement (RTGS) service, used to settle transactions between banks and financial institutions, and the automated Chaps payments system for high-value transactions including house sales.

The RTGS service underpins the UK’s banking system and is crucial for financial stability.

It settles more than £750 billion on average every working day, with peaks reaching more than £1 trillion in autumn last year, according to the Bank.

Chaps processes about £350 billion a day, including banks paying one another large sums.

It can also be used by individuals to make high-value payments up to millions of pounds, such as house purchases or cars.

The outage lasted about six hours, but the Bank did not give details on what caused the system failure.

In a statement later on Monday afternoon, the Bank said: “The issue has been resolved and all Chaps payments submitted to the Bank are settling normally.

“We do not anticipate that there will be any outstanding payments to settle when we close the system this evening.”

The Chaps outage could have left homebuyers and sellers around the UK unable to complete purchases on time, while the RTGS not running could lead to delays for banks which have settlement accounts with the service.

August is set to be the busiest month to move home, according to analysis collected by comparison site reallymoving.

Any delays in transferring money could impact people hoping to complete home moves.

The systems are normally highly reliable, but the Chaps mechanism suffered a 10-hour outage in 2014 amid issues related to a routine maintenance of RTGS.

That sparked an apology from former Bank governor Mark Carney and an official investigation.


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