ISO 20022 and the future of payments

Idris Alubankudi Saliu

6 January 2023 | 10:52AM GMT

Financial market infrastructures such as SWIFT, The Clearing House, the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) have communicated plans to migrate to ISO 20022 between 2022 and 2025.

ISO 20022 is a standard for electronic data interchange between financial institutions, developed and maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It defines a common language for financial transactions, allowing different systems to exchange information in a consistent and standardized way. ISO 20022 is used in a wide range of financial services, including payment systems, securities trading, and foreign exchange. It is designed to be flexible and adaptable to new technologies and changing business requirements, making it a popular choice for implementing new payment systems and initiatives.

Many major financial market infrastructures (FMIs) around the world have already begun the process of migrating to ISO 20022 or have completed the migration. Some examples include:

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) has implemented ISO 20022 for its cross-border payment system, known as the SWIFT global payment innovation (gpi) service.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has implemented ISO 20022 for its TARGET2-Securities (T2S) platform, which is used for the settlement of securities transactions in Europe.

The Bank of England has implemented ISO 20022 for the CHAPS and CREST systems, which are used for the settlement of high-value and securities transactions in the UK.

The US Federal Reserve has implemented ISO 20022 for its Fedwire Funds Service and its National Settlement Service.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority has implemented ISO 20022 for its Faster Payment System (FPS), which is used for real-time retail payments in Hong Kong.

Many other FMIs around the world are also in the process of migrating to ISO 20022 or have announced plans to do so in the future. It is likely that the adoption of ISO 20022 will continue to grow in the coming years as more FMIs recognize the benefits of the standard.

How does ISO 20022 benefit corporate treasurers?

ISO 20022 can benefit corporate treasurers in several ways:

Improved efficiency and automation: ISO 20022-compliant messages can be processed automatically by financial systems, reducing the need for manual intervention and increasing the speed and accuracy of financial transactions.

Upgraded data quality and accuracy: ISO 20022 messages contain detailed, standardized information that can help to reduce errors and improve data quality.

Increased visibility and control: ISO 20022 provides a consistent and standardized way to exchange financial information, which can help corporate treasurers to better track and manage their financial activities.

Enhanced security: ISO 20022 messages can be encrypted and authenticated, providing an additional layer of security for financial transactions.

Greater flexibility: ISO 20022 is designed to be flexible and adaptable to new technologies and changing business requirements, making it a good choice for implementing new payment systems and initiatives.

Overall, ISO 20022 can help corporate treasurers to streamline their financial processes, improve the accuracy and quality of their financial data, and gain greater visibility and control over their financial activities.

Key Impacts to Consider

There are several key impacts that corporations should consider when implementing ISO 20022:

Cost: Implementing ISO 20022 may require significant investments in new systems and infrastructure, as well as training and other resources. Corporations should carefully assess the costs and benefits of implementing ISO 20022 to ensure that it is a cost-effective solution.

Complexity: ISO 20022 can be complex to implement, especially for corporations with large and diverse operations. It may be necessary to make significant changes to existing systems and processes in order to fully implement ISO 20022.

Compatibility: Corporations should ensure that their systems and processes are compatible with ISO 20022, including any third-party systems that they rely on. This may require testing and validation to ensure that everything works together as intended.

Resource requirements: Implementing ISO 20022 may require a significant investment in resources, including personnel, training, and infrastructure. Corporations should be prepared to allocate the necessary resources in order to successfully implement ISO 20022.

Regulatory compliance: ISO 20022 may be required by regulators in certain situations, such as for cross-border payments or for certain types of financial transactions. Corporations should be aware of any regulatory requirements and ensure that they are compliant with them.

ISO 20022 is a game-changing standard that is transforming the way payments are made and processed. Its benefits for both financial institutions and corporates include increased efficiency, reduced costs, and the ability to exchange structured data. It is likely to become the standard for financial messaging in the future. Corporate treasurers will need to understand how ISO 20022 affects their work. While implementing the standard may present challenges, its long-term benefits make it a valuable investment for any organization.

ISO 20022 and the future of payments

ISO 20022 is a globally adopted standard for financial messaging that is changing the way payments are made and processed. Developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the standard aims to increase efficiency and reduce costs within the financial industry by enabling the exchange of structured data between financial institutions and corporates.

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