Disaster struck CHAPS on the morning of Monday 20th October 2014.
Automated payment methods rarely hit the headlines – unless something goes wrong.
And that ‘something’ is quite often human error.
Direct Debits, for example, are so reliable that 8 out of 10 of the UK population has at least one. Even so, when a simple mistake happens we usually get to hear about.
And so it was with CHAPS (Clearing House Automated Payment System) recently…
CHAPS has been a trusted and reliable payment method for many years (since 1984 in fact; so celebrating its 30th birthday this year).
CHAPS guarantees same-day sterling transfers, with no limit on the amount. This makes it popular for house purchases, with a solicitor typically transferring funds between the bank accounts of those involved.
A massive £277 billion in payments is transmitted by CHAPS every day.
However, disaster struck on the morning of Monday 20th October 2014, and CHAPS collapsed due to an error made at the Bank of England. The processing of all payments was paused, and it wasn’t until late in the afternoon that The Bank announced they had managed to fix the system – leaving it with a severe dent in its reputation, amongst other things.
So what exactly was to blame for nightmare scenario? A cyber-attack? Some other type of security breach? A natural disaster, perhaps?
Nope. Just an IT glitch.
And a glitch so trivial and minor that it could be considered almost laughable (unless you were involved in one of the 2450 house sales affected by it of course).
Apparently during some routine maintenance work over the weekend, someone made a mistake changing the name of a single bank on the CHAPS platform.
They tried amending ‘Northern Bank’ to ‘Danske Bank’. And this tiny amend was apparently what caused the whole system to come crashing down for the best part of a day…
When staff came in on Monday to switch things back on, they discovered that the name change hadn’t gone quite as smoothly as they would have hoped. A tough decision had to be made, and they suspended RTGS (the Real Time Gross Payments System) while repairs took place. And as we know, they managed to get back up and running on the same day.
So what now? Well, questions will no doubt be asked about why such a minor change could have such a disastrous impact. And we should expect a solemn guarantees that systems have been put in place to ensure such a thing never happens again. But the damage has been done, and the dent to CHAPS’ reputation is likely to overshadow much of their 30th birthday celebrations… all because of one name change.
Here at AccessPay, we have long-established, rigorous procedures in place to prevent this sort of thing happening. Perhaps it could be worth having a friendly chat with your IT to make sure that your system is equally robust?
“What corporate requirements are banks unable to fulfil?” – Finextra
The answer to the headline question is revealed below, in my Finextra video interview:
This interview took place a few days ago and has just been published on the Finextra website under the title ‘The corporate-to-bank challenge’:
The key questions I was asked during the interview were:
“With corporate requirements changing, what are they expecting from their banks?”
“How have advancements in technology impacted on the corporate space?”
You’ll hear me respond by explaining how new technology and cloud payment innovation is affecting the corporate-to-bank relationship. I also give my views on the challenges that corporates are facing in their payment processing (such as managing multiple banking portals), and how technology such as cloud computing, cloud payment and straight through processing can help them.
“Corporates have certain requirements that the banks are unable to fulfil…”
“The lack of integration of banking portals with the corporates’ back office system is definitely a frustration.”
“Technology is advancing pretty rapidly, especially with the evolution of cloud vs on-premise software.”
“Cloud is the way forward for helping corporates to bridge the gap between themselves and the bank.”
For more videos from AccessPay please visit our Media Hub.
Thanks for taking the time to watch and listen. If you have any thoughts or questions on the issues raised during the interview, I’d really like to hear them. Please feel free to leave a comment below:
Say goodbye to the paper car tax disc – it’s no more from 1st October 2014, after 93 years of faithfully adorning vehicle windscreens.
So what happens now? How will the change affect you?
From the 1st October 2014 you can simply remove the tax disc from your windscreen and destroy it.
You’ll still need to tax your vehicle of course (and as usual, the DVLA will send you a renewal reminder when your tax is due to expire). It’s just that thanks to new technology the DVLA has digital records of your payments for car tax (or vehicle excise duty to call it by its correct name).