What is ISO 20022?

ISO 20022 is an open standard for creating ‘dataful’ payment messages. It’s the emerging global standard allowing for more information to be sent through payment system messages, creating large opportunities for innovation and improved backoffice efficiency.

The standard was first published by the International Standards Organization (ISO) in 2004, and is now widely recognized as the future global and interoperable payments standard. ISO 20022 has established management processes that govern the standard’s maintenance, evolution and governance.

The standard currently includes the following financial transaction categories:

  • Payments
  • Retail Cards
  • Trade Service
  • Foreign Exchange
  • Securities

The ISO 20022 payment messages are managed on behalf of ISO by SWIFT (the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), through a common dictionary of terminology known as the Financial Repository.

There are three key benefits of ISO 20022 adoption:

  1. Data: ISO 20022 allows for transmission of more remittance information with a payment, with the flexibility to adapt to a given need or context. This information can support innovation that reduce costs and creates value. Significant efficiencies will come from automated reconciliation and straight-through processing where more information – such as information from multiple invoices – can be sent with an electronic payment, reducing the need for manual intervention and re-keying of data.
  2. Global interoperability: Countries around the world are adopting ISO 20022 with an eye towards facilitating cross-border payments, which will also support global competitiveness for 20022-enabled economies.
  3. Standards consolidation: ISO 20022 allows the financial services industry to consolidate a variety of existing standards. This will reduce the cost and effort associated with supporting multiple standards, support innovation, and enable third-party service providers

For more detail about the ISO 20022 Standard, visit ISO20022.org or our Payments Canada’s Resource Centre.


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