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.

ISO 20022 CHAPS migration: ‘Like-for-like’ message set and update

We have published the final ‘like-for-like’ message set for the Introductory Phase of the ISO 20022 CHAPS migration. This documentation also contains additional information on our migration approach, including updates on the use of enhanced data messages, testing and work to ensure participant readiness.

We have published a separate update to explain the impact of these changes on other RTGS account holders.

Access to the Readiness Portal for testing CHAPS ISO 20022 messages


The ‘like-for-like’ message set for the CHAPS ISO 20022 migration is available in the SWIFT My Standards application and in Pay.UK’s Standards Source. The Bank has published on two repositories to help industry alignment with other payment systems. Schemas within both repositories will deliver the same outcome when implemented. There are however some technical differences between the MyStandards and Standards Source platforms, which affects the presentation of the schemas. Developers should consider MyStandards to be the golden source and the primary platform for schema documents.

Those using Standards Source are strongly encouraged to read the explanatory note which is available on the platform, which details the differences in presentation. 

MyStandards Readiness Portal

The Bank has now launched the SWIFT MyStandards Readiness Portal to enable users to begin testing their CHAPS payment messages against the published schemas. We are encouraging all CHAPS Direct Participants to make use of the Readiness Portal to support their internal readiness for the CHAPS ISO 20022 migration. Other users, including indirect participants in CHAPS, software vendors supplying payment systems, and others in the payments industry are also welcome to use it. The Bank will monitor use of the Readiness Portal as part of our approach to assuring industry readiness for the migration.

The Readiness Portal will validate CHAPS ISO 20022 messages to ensure they comply with the schemas and that the format meets the mandatory requirements for a payment message to settle in RTGS. It will also enable users to validate examples of the cash management and administration messages that CHAPS Direct Participants will receive from RTGS, to enable them to prepare their systems to process them. It links with the SWIFT MyStandards documentation, not the Standards Source documentation.

How do I gain access to the Readiness Portal for CHAPS?

To obtain access to the Readiness Portal, you will need to:

  1. Register for a swift.com account for MyStandards.
  2. Request access to the Bank of England ISO 20022 (external users) community.  We will process your request within 48 hours.
  3. Email the rtgsreadiness@bankofengland.co.uk to request a copy of the ‘Readiness Portal – Community Access Agreement’, giving a brief explanation for your interest in using the Readiness Portal. Software vendors should also outline which software packages they provide, to which actors in the payments industry, to avoid any delay in being granted access. The agreement should be signed on behalf of your organisation and returned to the same address.
  4. Complete the below form, listing users who are authorised to access the Readiness Portal on behalf of your organisation, and return it to rtgsreadiness@bankofengland.co.uk.

How do I use the Readiness Portal?

A set of use cases is being developed to support testing and will be shared with Direct Participants via the RTGS Renewal Testing Working Group. Users are also encouraged to use the Readiness Portal in any way which supports the development of their CHAPS ISO 20022 messages.

The Readiness Portal will be available throughout the RTGS Renewal Programme, and will be updated to include the schemas for the enhanced CHAPS ISO 20022 messages later this year.

Please contact rtgsreadiness@bankofengland.co.uk with any questions on the Readiness Portal.

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:

In September 2019, the Bank of England invited feedback on its proposals to revisit Phase 2 of the implementation approach for the ISO 20022 CHAPS migration. This document sets out the background to this decision and the questions posed to stakeholders.

Who we have engaged with and why

Front of the Bank

Financial institutions

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

People around table


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.


Completed ISO 20022 Working Groups

As part of the RTGS Renewal Programme, the Bank will implement ISO 20022 compliant messaging standards in the High Value Payment System. As part of this the Programme set up two ISO 20022 Working Groups. 

  • The Data Working Group advised on potential enhancements to payments messages, taking advantage of the ISO 20022 standard data carrying capabilities.
  • The Interoperability Working Group provided industry experience and technical advice regarding the design of the new standard, seeking to enhance interoperability with the UK retail schemes, and harmonise with international High Value Payments Systems, also implementing ISO 20022.

Details on our current Working Groups can be found on 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 06 April 2020
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