What is ISO 20022?

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What is ISO 20022?

The payments landscape is transforming around the world. ISO 20022 is the newly established global standard for payments messaging for the UK, European and other international cross-border payments.

This is a significant change and will eventually mean that there will be a common standard for payments messaging in every country. The new standard means more data of a better quality can be included in payments messages. The benefits of adopting a global standard for payments messaging will result in future innovation and development to deliver a better payment experience for customers.

Key benefits of ISO 20022

  • Flexibility – ISO 20022 is a global standard that allows for faster troubleshooting and maintenance and can be adapted to be responsive to changes in the economy and new technologies.
  • Harmonisation – A worldwide, standard language across payment systems. 
  • Enriched data – More data will be able to be held in the new payment message format, which contains richer information, providing better business intelligence and reconciliation opportunities.
  • Competition – Increased flexibility and modernisation will stimulate innovation in the financial sector, allowing for the development of new products and services.
  • Better processing –  There will be fewer issues with incomplete or unstructured data, resulting in fewer failed payments and improved customer service.
If you are unsure about the impact of ISO 20022 on your business, or want to find out more about the new standard, please contact your account  manager who will be happy to help.

Some of your questions answered

What does this mean for my business?

You will need to make sure your payment systems can send and receive payments in the UK and internationally using the new ISO 20022 format. This could mean that you need to make changes to your systems. With this in mind it is advisable to prepare early to avoid any disruption to your business. 

What changes will I need to make?

You may want to start investigating changes that may need to be made to your initiation or collection of CHAPS, Euro and SWIFT payments which will all be affected as the new standard is adopted. Bear in mind that if you use third-party suppliers to support your payment operations and systems, they may also be affected.

As the migration to ISO 20022 progresses and details of any changes that impact our payments service to you become clear, more information will be made available here on our website or will be shared with you through your account manager.

Who will be impacted?

Any business, commercial and corporate customers that make and receive UK, Euro and cross border payments will be impacted along with financial institutions e.g. other banks.

What is the timeline for migration to ISO 20022?

SWIFT and Euro payment systems transitioned first to align with the new payments format, in March 2023, with full migration of cross-border payment infrastructures expected to be late 2025. Changes to CHAPS payments were made in June 2023 replacing previous payment messages with the new enhanced ISO format.

The timelines for the migration are determined by the different payment schemes and regulators and so are subject to change and adjustment.  

Where can I find more information?

You can speak to your account manager about the ISO 20022 transition and you’ll also find useful resources here:

www.bankofengland.co.uk/payment-and-settlement/rtgs-renewal-programme/iso-20022-handbook Opens in a new window

www.iso20022.org Opens in a new window

www.swift.com/standards/iso-20022 Opens in a new window