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ISO 20022: Are your payment systems ready?


ISO 20022 is a global standard for financial messaging that aims to standardize electronic data interchange between financial institutions.

It provides a structured way of exchanging data for financial transactions, including payments, securities and trade services. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) developed the standard, which is being adopted by countries and financial institutions worldwide. Real-Time Payments, for example, have widely adopted ISO 20022 across many countries, and Wire Payments networks are also announcing their support plans, including Fedwire, Lynx and SWIFT, by the end of 2025. Given these ISO 20022 payment scheme announcements, the question is: is your financial institution ready?

ISO 20022 data improves payment efficiency

The impact of ISO 20022 on payment systems data is significant, as it allows for more detailed information in payment messages. In contrast to older messaging standards, ISO 20022 provides a more comprehensive and structured data model, which makes it easier and more efficient for different financial institutions and payment systems to communicate with each other. For example, ISO 20022 includes new data fields that provide more information about the transaction, such as the purpose of the payment, the type of payment and any associated fees or charges. This increased data granularity can help to improve the accuracy and efficiency of payment processing, enabling faster and more reliable settlement of payments. 

For payment systems to leverage ISO 20022, the architecture must support ISO 20022 data to those components that can leverage the expanded data set, including Fraud System, Sanctions Screening, Regulatory Reporting, and Payments Archive. 

Furthermore, ISO 20022 enables interoperability between different payment systems, which is critical in today’s global financial ecosystem. With ISO 20022, financial institutions can communicate with each other using a common data language, making it easier to conduct cross-border transactions and ensuring a higher level of standardization across different payment systems (e.g., Real-Time Payments and Wire Transfer).

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The convergence of wire transfers and real-time payments to ISO 20022 is transforming the payments industry by enabling faster, more secure and more efficient payments. Wire transfers are traditional bank-to-bank transfers that are typically processed in batches and can take a day to several days to complete. On the other hand, real-time payments are complete within a few seconds, allowing for the near-instantaneous transfer of funds between bank accounts. 

Here are some ways in which the convergence of wire transfers and real-time payments to ISO 20022 improves the payments industry. Are your payment systems ready to reap these benefits?

  • Faster and more efficient payments: With the adoption of ISO 20022, wire transfers and real-time payments are processed more quickly and efficiently, reducing processing times and costs.
  • Improved customer experience: The convergence of wire transfers and real-time payments to ISO 20022 improves the customer experience by providing faster, more convenient and more secure payment options. These can help to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Increased automation: ISO 20022 provides a more structured way of exchanging payment data, enabling greater automation and reducing the need for manual intervention, all of which help reduce errors and improve overall payment processing efficiency.

ISO 20022 drives improved analytics and new revenue opportunities

ISO 20022 enables more sophisticated payment analytics by providing a richer data set for analysis. With more detailed information about each transaction, analysts can develop deeper insights, which can help to improve risk management, fraud detection and compliance with regulatory requirements. 

These deeper insights can help financial institutions identify opportunities for new revenue streams. Are your payment systems ready for these new opportunities?

  • Improved Analytics: financial institutions can access more detailed information about each transaction, enabling more sophisticated payment analytics. Helping to identify new revenue streams and improve customer engagement by offering more targeted and personalized products and services.
  • Enhanced Risk Management: better identify and manage risks, such as fraud, credit risk and operational risk. Helping to reduce losses and improve overall financial performance.
  • Compliance: ISO 20022 can help financial institutions comply with regulatory requirements by providing a more comprehensive data set for reporting purposes and helping to reduce compliance costs and improve regulatory oversight.
  • Product Innovation: use transaction data to create new products and services that meet the needs of their customers. For example, banks can offer personalized financial advice based on transaction history or develop new payment products that provide better user experiences.
  • Partnerships: increase collaboration to create new data-driven products and services that drive innovation and create new revenue streams for both parties.

Overall, the convergence of wire transfers and real-time payments to ISO 20022 will transform the payments industry by enabling faster, more secure and more efficient payments. As more financial institutions adopt ISO 20022, we will see increased innovation, usage of data analytics, automation, AI and competition in the payments space, leading to a more dynamic and efficient payments ecosystem. Financial Institutions that view ISO 20022 as a strategic opportunity and act now to modernize their payment systems to support ISO 20022 will be ready to support the future of payments. 

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