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What is Faster Payments?

August 13, 2020June 13th, 2024No Comments

The Faster Payments Service (FPS) stands as a groundbreaking banking service in the United Kingdom, revolutionising the speed of fund transfers between customer accounts. In stark contrast to the traditional process, which could take over three days, FPS now completes transactions in just a matter of seconds in most cases.

Since its establishment in 2008, FPS has operated seamlessly, 24/7/365, catering to the vast majority of UK customers with bank accounts. In the year 2021 alone, FPS facilitated an astonishing £2.6 trillion (approximately $2.9 trillion) worth of transactions across 3.4 billion transactions.

The FPS functions through a network comprising various entities, including banks, fintech companies, and payment service providers. These entities securely connect directly to the FPS system infrastructure to facilitate swift and secure transfers.

Typically, when both the sending and receiving banks are direct participants in FPS, funds become immediately available upon transfer. However, in certain scenarios—such as transactions occurring outside normal business hours or involving non-direct participants—transfers may take up to two hours.

It’s crucial to note that payments made via FPS occur in real-time and cannot be canceled or recalled once initiated.

BACS and CHAPS: Alternatives to Faster Payments

Despite the efficiency of Faster Payments, it’s essential to consider other payment systems available in the UK.

  • BACS (Bankers Automated Clearing Services): BACS provides an alternative method for transferring funds, particularly suited for batch payments like salaries and bills. While not instantaneous like Faster Payments, BACS offers a reliable option for regular, non-urgent transactions, typically clearing within three business days.
  • CHAPS (Clearing House Automated Payment System): CHAPS serves high-value bank-to-bank payments, ensuring same-day delivery for transactions initiated before the institution’s payment cutoff time. Unlike Faster Payments, CHAPS transactions usually involve a fee but guarantee expedited processing.

Comparison of Payment Systems

When evaluating Faster Payments, BACS, and CHAPS, several factors come into play:

  • Speed: Faster Payments excels with near-instantaneous fund transfers, whereas BACS and CHAPS may take longer, depending on the transaction type.
  • Cost: While Faster Payments are generally free, CHAPS transactions often incur fees. BACS fees may vary based on the bank and transaction type.
  • Limits: Faster Payments typically have daily limits set by banks, while BACS and CHAPS may have their own set of limitations, particularly regarding transaction amounts.


In summary, Faster Payments has reshaped the banking landscape in the UK, offering unparalleled speed and convenience in fund transfers. While alternatives like BACS and CHAPS serve specific purposes and come with their own advantages, Faster Payments remains the preferred choice for quick and efficient transactions. By comprehending the nuances of these payment systems, individuals and businesses can make informed decisions to fulfill their financial requirements effectively in today’s fast-paced banking environment.

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