ISO 20022: Implementing the global payments messaging standard within CHAPS and RTGS

Find out about the new messaging standard, key delivery dates, and the benefits of ISO 20022

ISO 20022: the new messaging standard for CHAPS and RTGS

On 19 June 2023, CHAPS and the Bank’s Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS) migrated to the ISO 20022 messaging standard. The ISO 20022 message standard facilitates the sending of enhanced data in a richer, more structured format than currently, which will bring a wide range of benefits. It is an open international standard, which has the potential to create a single common language for most payments globally. In addition to the UK, many major jurisdictions are also implementing ISO 20022 ahead of November 2025, when SWIFT is scheduled to retire its existing MT message standard for payments.

On this page you will find all the information on our migration and policy approach, timelines, and stakeholder requirements. You should continue reading if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • CHAPS Direct Participants and their customers, or indirect participants. 
  • CHAPS Reserves and Settlement Account Holders.
  • Users who make, receive or process CHAPS payments.
  • Technology vendors who develop and provide payment related solutions.
  • Other stakeholders with an interest in the future of UK payments.

As part of Pay.UK’s New Payments Architecture (NPA) programme, retail interbank payments in the UK are also due to migrate to ISO 20022 in the next few years. The Bank and Pay.UK have established the Standards Advisory Panel, which provides industry advice on the adoption of new payment standards in the UK. Please see our Industry Engagement page for further details and past minutes. You can also find out about how we are collaborating with Pay.UK and the industry on ISO 20022 payment messages.

Timeline and key migration dates for CHAPS 

The diagram below shows our key milestones in the migration of CHAPS to ISO 20022. Participants should use these timelines to prepare for their own readiness for each relevant milestone. More detail on each of these milestones can be found in the ISO 20022 Handbook.

Please note that following delays in ECB and SWIFT implementations of ISO 20022, we have also revised the migration milestones for CHAPS, which are reflected below.

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Resources for participants

The ISO 20022 handbook 

The ISO 20022 handbook contains all information needed for CHAPS participants and other stakeholders to prepare and get their organisation ready ahead of the transition to ISO 20022. 

Below is a quick map of the handbook and links are provided to jump to specific sections within the ISO 20022 Handbook:  

RTGS Reference Manual

CHAPS Direct Participants should also be up-to-date and comply with the RTGS Reference Manual where full technical and operational requirements are set out for accessing RTGS services. The RTGS Reference Manual is accessible to CHAPS Direct Participants via the RTGS Extranet.

Enhanced data policy

Our approach to introducing new and enhanced data in CHAPS is set out in the two documents below. ISO 20022 can adapt more easily than current messaging standards and enables more detailed and better structured reference information to be carried. This includes:

  • Purpose codes
  • Legal Entity Identifiers (LEIs)
  • Remittance data
  • Structured addresses
  • Extended character set

You can find further information and guidance on these data enhancements in the below two publications, and jump to sections using the below links.

Benefits of ISO 20022

Flexibility

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

Harmonisation

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.

Resilience

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.

Enriched data

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

Competition and innovation

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

Straight-through processing

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

Analytics

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

Realising the benefits of enhanced data

We are working with CHAPS Direct Participants and representative groups on the implementation of ISO 20022 within the industry. The benefits of the richer data are conditional on the industry using the richer data in a consistent manner, aligning with other market infrastructures domestically and internationally. We are working with the industry on the production of guidance for specific use-cases that will help maximise the benefits of the implementation of ISO 20022.

How to contact us

For technical enquiries, please see the ISO 20022 handbook, or contact rtgsreadiness@bankofengland.co.uk.

For all general enquiries, speaker engagements and communication please contact rtgsengagement@bankofengland.co.uk.

This page was last updated 08 February 2024