UK payments association Apacs says the Chaps euro clearing service will shut down at close of business on Friday.
The euro-compatible system began operation in January 1999 and used the same settlement mechanisms as Chaps sterling network to provide a same-day domestic euro service as part of the Target network.
Apacs says the decision to terminate the Chaps euro service was taken after reassessing the UK's stance on the euro, together with looking at the current transaction volumes and other options now available for making euro payments.
"When Chaps euro was created in 1999, the UK was still contemplating joining the Euro," says Apacs in a statement. "However, over time the UK's stance has become clearer, making the case for continuing to participate in the clearing system considerably weaker."
"Whilst in operation, the Chaps euro service provided the UK with an efficient, safe and reliable method for making euro payments," adds David MacFarlane, Chaps company manager, Apacs. "However, as time has progressed, options have emerged and evolved, and it is vital that the UK adapts with the times if it is to continue to offer payment users the best possible options for making payments."
Apacs says a carefully managed migration commenced in November 2007 in preparation of the closure. Only 940 payments processed on the system in the first quarter of the year, compared to 2019 payments processed during the first quarter of 2007.
Stats released by Apacs also show there were 1.8 billion plastic card purchases made in the UK totalling £91.1 billion in the first quarter of 2008.
The number of purchases was 8.9% higher than in the first quarter of 2007, and spending was 8.9% higher, says Apacs. Debit cards accounted for 72.8% of all plastic card purchases, compared with 71.1% in the first quarter of 2007.