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Subpoena Instructions

Instructions for Issuing a Subpoena to The Clearing House Payments Company L.L.C.

Response Time

Due to the high volume of subpoenas we receive, our standard response time is approximately 20 weeks. 


  1. Issuing a subpoena
    Your subpoena must be issued to our full, legal name: The Clearing House Payments Company L.L.C.

    If your subpoena does not comply with this requirement, it will be returned for re-issuance. Please make your subpoena to the attention of Subpoena Compliance.

  2. Notwithstanding an instruction in your subpoena that all requests are “continuing in nature”, TCH responds once to each subpoena it receives and does not run subsequent searches of its records.  You must issue a new subpoena if you want TCH to perform any subsequent or updated searches.

  3. TCH performs searches of its payment records using tools and capabilities available to it. Notwithstanding subpoenas that instruct TCH to perform searches in specific ways, such as instructions to employ fuzzy logic to search terms, TCH will perform searches according to its capabilities.

  4. Method of service

    TCH’s preferred method of service is email.
    TCH accepts service of subpoenas via email at

    TCH also accepts service via US Mail, FedEx or other carrier at
    115 Business Park Drive
    Winston-Salem, NC 27107


  5. TCH Business Hours

    TCH’s subpoena team works 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. eastern time on U.S. banking days.  Subpoenas received outside of these business hours will not be seen until the next banking day.

  6. TCH’s preferred method for responding to subpoenas is by email. Responsive data will be encrypted, and a password will be emailed in a separate message. Please provide in your subpoena an email address to which we can respond.

  7. You may contact The Clearing House regarding subpoenas at 212-613-0198. TCH endeavors to respond to messages by the end of the next banking day.


General Information about The Clearing House and Its Payment Records

  1. The Clearing House Payments Company, L.L.C. (TCH) is not a bank and does not hold accounts. TCH does not have account records.

  2. TCH operates inter-bank payment systems that clear and settle payments for depository institutions.  The records that TCH maintains of the payments it clears and settles and TCH’s ability to search those records varies between its payment systems. Please see details below about the payment records available in TCH’s different systems.


The Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS)

  1. Announcements

    Effective April 8, 2024 CHIPS payment messages are in an XML format (ISO 20022) and TCH subpoena responses for XML formatted payment messages will be in a different format.

    Effective November 1, 2023, the retention period for CHIPS payment messages has decreased from a rolling seven (7) year period to a rolling five (5) year period.

  2. General Information about CHIPS

    TCH operates the Clearing House Interbank Payments System ("CHIPS"), a funds-transfer ("wire") system. As a funds-transfer system, CHIPS processes and settles "payment messages”, which are an instruction from a sending bank to a receiving bank to pay (or cause another bank to pay) a specified sum of money to a beneficiary. A CHIPS payment message is typically one transaction within a series of transactions (together the series of transactions is a "funds transfer") between banks made for the purpose of making a payment from an originator to a beneficiary. All CHIPS payment messages are denominated in U.S. dollars.

    More information about CHIPS and its operations is available in the CHIPS Public Disclosure of Legal, Governance, Risk Management, and Operating Framework, which is published on the CHIPS web page of TCH’s website.

  3. CHIPS Records

    The records that TCH has that would be responsive to a subpoena seeking funds transfer data are the records of CHIPS payment messages. There are no account files, correspondence, or memoranda involved with these payment messages.

    The Clearing House Payments Company L.L.C. retains CHIPS payment message records for five (5) years from the date of the transaction. CHIPS transaction data that is older than five (5) years is automatically deleted from our systems.

  4. ISO 20022 (XML Formatted CHIPS Payment Messages)

    On April 8, 2024 CHIPS implemented the ISO 20022 format for CHIPS payment messages.  Due to this new payment message format, the format for subpoena responses for CHIPS payment messages that were cleared and settled from April 8, 2024 forward will also be different.  Subpoena responses for CHIPS payment messages that cleared and settled before April 8, 2024 will be in the same format as TCH historically provided.

    Please note that if a subpoena seeks CHIPS payment records for a period that spans the pre and post ISO 20022 implementation date, responsive records will be provided in separate documents for the legacy and ISO-formatted payment messages.

  5. Subpoena Responses for CHIPS Payment Messages
    • If there are CHIPS payment messages that are responsive to your subpoena:
      • For legacy-formatted CHIPS payment messages (payment messages that cleared and settled before April 8, 2024), you will receive an Excel spreadsheet containing the payment messages; and
      • For ISO 20022-formatted CHIPS payment messages (payment messages that cleared and settled from April 8, 2024 forward), you will receive
        • a file containing the XML payment messages that are separated by date and System Sequence Number (SSN); and
        • a summary report in excel format that provides the date, SSN, and certain key information for each of the payment messages.

    TCH will also provide an executed copy of a Declaration of Authenticity of Business Records for the records we provide.

    Please be advised that TCH will not retain copies of excel or XML files that it provides in response to a subpoena.

  6. The [900] field in Legacy Formatted CHIPS Payment Messages

    From March 20, 2023 until April 5, 2024 CHIPS messages included a [900] field.  The field was provided during the time period after the SWIFT network implemented ISO 20022 and before CHIPS implemented the ISO 20022 format.  A CHIPS Sending Participant could choose to use the [900] filed during this period if the participant converted an ISO 20022 formatted payment message it received via SWIFT to a legacy-formatted CHIPS payment message and there was information in the ISO formatted SWIFT payment message that (i) could not be mapped to an existing legacy CHIPS field, and/ or (ii) could be mapped to an existing field but was too large to completely fit in the field (“extra ISO data”). Industry guidance advises banks to delay the origination of new data elements that would create extra ISO data until CHIPS and other market infrastructures  implemented the ISO 20022 format.  However, it is possible that banks did not abide by this guidance.

    If there was extra ISO data, a CHIPS Sending Participant would include a copy of the entire ISO formatted payment message, not just the extra ISO data, in the new [900] field. If there was no extra ISO data, there would be no information in the [900] field.

    Due to significant technical constraints that prevent TCH from feasibly searching and extracting data in the [900] field, TCH does not search the field or provide the field (if present in a CHIPS payment message) in its subpoena responses.

    TCH will continue to search all other fields in a CHIPS payment message and these other fields will continue to identify the originator, originator’s bank, intermediary banks, beneficiary bank, and beneficiary.

    If there is information in the [900] field, the information will be almost entirely duplicative of information that is found in the other fields of a CHIPS message.  Under certain circumstances, however, it is possible that certain “ultimate” parties and/or complete names and addresses may only appear in the [900] field.

    If a legacy formatted CHIPS payment message that is provided in response to a subpoena had data in the [900] field, “XDAT” will appear in the [650] field of the message. Please note that CHIPS Participants also have their own records of CHIPS payment messages they sent or received. Subpoenas issued to them may provide additional information relevant to the matter being investigated or litigated.

Issuing a Subpoena for Other TCH Payment System Records

Electronic Payments Network (EPN)
The Clearing House Payments Company L.L.C. operates the Electronic Payments Network (EPN), an automated clearing house (ACH). TCH holds EPN transactional records for two (2) years. The following information is required in order to search EPN records:  originator's or receiver’s name and account number, processing or effective date of the transaction, RDFI RT number, dollar amount of the transaction, trace number, and whether the transaction is a credit or debit.

TCH Image Exchange Network (or SVPCO)
The Clearing House Payments Company L.L.C. operates the TCH Image Exchange Network, a check image clearing house. Our check image network is a peer-to-peer network, which means that participants exchange images directly with one another and TCH only has visibility into certain summary (“cash letter”) information necessary to enable settlement. Therefore, TCH cannot provide records of check images that were exchanged over our network. TCH retains records of the summary information for two (2) years. In response to a subpoena for TCH Image Exchange Network records, we can provide only a confirmation that a check image was settled by TCH. In order to search the settlement records, we require the business date, the file ID, and the amount of the Cash Letter in which the particular check is included.