A new messaging standard for UK payments: ISO 20022

Using data to increase harmonisation, innovation and resilience

Payments data in the UK is changing

The UK payments industry is moving to ISO 20022 which is the emerging global standard for payments messaging. This standard creates a common language for payments data across the globe.

Better data in payments promises to deliver significant long-term benefits for the economy. To adapt to the new messaging standard and accompanying data requirements, your organisation might have to make process and technology changes.

Consultation documents

In 2018, the Bank of England, in conjunction with Pay.UK and the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), consulted on the adoption of ‘ISO 20022’ for payments in the UK. This consultation, together with our response, can be found here:

On 6 December 2018, the Bank of England hosted an industry briefing to examine findings from the consultation. A record of the Q&A from the event can be found here:

Who we have engaged with and why

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Financial institutions

Financial institutions are core users of the high value payment system.

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Corporates use high value payments for buying supplies and paying tax.

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Payment industry technology providers

ISO 20022 will need changes to be implemented in payment systems.

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Trade bodies and industry groups

The members of many trade bodies and interest groups will be affected by the changes.


Solicitors and conveyancers

Solicitors and conveyancers use high value payments for property transactions.

The benefits of ISO 20022

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ISO 20022 can adapt more easily than current messaging standards. So it’s more responsive to changes in the economy, emerging technologies and innovation.

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Over 70 countries have already adopted ISO 20022, so messages will be harmonised with payment systems around the world.


Compliance and regulation

Richer data will make it easier for businesses to detect fraud and help target financial crime.

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ISO 20022 will be used across many payment systems. This improves resilience by allowing re-routing of messages which reduces the impact of outages on users.

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Enriched data

More data can be carried. It enables more detailed and better structured reference information.

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Competition and innovation

More flexibility means more competition and innovation in the financial sector. Better data may lead to product innovation.

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Straight-through processing

Less need for banks to make manual interventions. Potentially fewer delays for the end customer.

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Enriched data will improve analytics. More efficient data collection may improve the decision making.

Further information on ISO 20022

For more information on the Standards Advisory Panel, please see our Industry Engagement page.


Get the latest information about our RTGS Renewal programme

If you would like email updates about our RTGS Renewal programme  please contact: RTGSEngagement@bankofengland.co.uk.

This page was last updated 16 October 2019
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