Progress Made Towards Harmonisation of ISO 20022 for Real-Time Payments


A ground-breaking agreement on international cooperation towards ISO 20022 has been reached following a roundtable facilitated by the Payments Council. The progress has been marked by the publication today (Wednesday 17 June) of a new beginner’s guide to the emerging international ‘de facto’ standard for real-time payments.

Over 40 financial institutions, international clearing houses, payments associations, payment schemes and supply-side representatives from around the world met in London to coordinate plans relating to the use of ISO 20022 for real-time payments. The April meeting saw broad agreement that ISO 20022 was now the ‘de facto’ standard in this area.

Global interoperability of real-time payments systems will require harmonisation of standards and the roundtable reached consensus on the benefits of working together to understand what can be done collaboratively to ensure greatest chance of interoperability in the future.

Drawing on the conclusions of the meeting, the Payments Council has published a factsheet explaining ISO 20022 and the UK’s role in its implementation for the payments industry.

As the market has evolved, differing implementations of ISO 20022 for real-time payments have emerged and while the roundtable participants agreed these differences need to be embraced, it was decided the time is right to seek commonality and convergence.

Attendees agreed the next steps towards drafting the technical documentation much needed to advance harmonisation and set a determined target. A new set of messages does not need to be developed, but the aim is to deliver an initial variant of ISO 20022 messages for real-time payments delivered before the end of summer 2015.

Maurice Cleaves, Interim Chief Executive of the Payments Council, commented:

“Collaboration is often the key to success in the development of payment systems, so we are delighted to facilitate international dialogue to help with coordination on real-time payments. The UK payments industry has a long history of being committed to common industry standards, and this meeting marks another important milestone.

“The Payments Council team involved has made a major contribution to ISO 20022 and has been a driving force in the development of a more efficient and faster way of implementing message standards that will serve as the basis for long-term financial services solutions.”

Find out more with the Payment Council’s ISO 20022 factsheet >>

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