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Treasury and Payments

ISO 20022 Migration: Delivering Faster Payments Automation

The payments paradox: data and systems become increasingly diverse as the global economy becomes more interconnected. A complex payments industry relies on a common language to keep dialogue open, and ISO 20022 is set to become that universal language. Here we explore the key considerations for financial institutions when migrating to ISO 20022.

What does ISO 20022 mean for the payments industry?

ISO 20022 is emerging as a common language and model for financial messages across the world. It isn’t a new standard as real-time, high-value payment systems have already adopted ISO 20022. However, the significance of the shift will unfold over the next few years. As major currencies adopt ISO 20022 formatting, SWIFT estimates that 80% of global, high-value payments by volume will be processed through ISO 20022.1

Fast Facts: ISO 20022

  • ISO 20022 is a standard for exchanging electronic messages 
  • Uses XML syntax and offers structured, rich data
  • This format is already used by many real-time, low-value, and high-value clearing systems around the world
  • Offers richer references and improved remittance information
  • Requires planning ahead: multi-year project for FIs to implement value-added services to enhance experience

Financial institutions are increasingly adopting ISO 20022

With structure and dedicated fields for payment details, the formatting standard creates communication efficiency. Rather than managing multiple market systems that speak different languages, ISO 20022 offers a universal messaging language. According to Stephen Lindsay, SWIFT Head of Standards, “Major currencies will be operating with ISO before 2025 to reap the benefits.”

Sending and receiving robust payment details is critical not only for interoperability, but also for improving the client experience and screening measures. With ISO 20022, financial institutions can screen more readable content, recognizing where data starts and ends to assess payments in context. The impact for financial institutions expands beyond payables and receivables to transaction monitoring, client reporting and many other elements, so planning for migration sooner rather than later is key.

Major currencies will be operating with ISO before 2025 to reap the benefits.

Stephen Lindsay, Head of Standards, SWIFT

Delivering faster payments automation and resolution  

ISO migration is more than a technical project for tactical execution, unlocking potential for FIs to shift from passive to active payment processing. In other words, this is not just a standard which banks must comply with. It’s a unique opportunity to capture rich data benefits and embrace data-driven innovation. The highly structured messaging format means machines can read messages better for faster automation and resolution.

From the corporate client perspective, benefits include efficient reconciliation, enhanced invoice information at scale, and fewer manual processes to reduce DSO and improve working capital. While clearing the way for more flexible payment structures, ISO 20022 helps accommodate corporate needs, along with evolving market dependencies.

Create strong governance – with fluid channels of communications across stakeholders – to oversee the migration within your business.

Simon Cox, Managing Director of Channels Technology, J.P. Morgan

Communication consistency and cost benchmarking are building blocks for ISO 20022 migration

Simon Cox, J.P. Morgan Managing Director of Channels Technology, urges both FIs and corporate clients to consider technical architecture changes and a workable scope. Will you utilize the SWIFT translation service or deal with data in your own shop? Managing routing rules and accommodating flexible formats will also come into play, so think about the end state build.

“As a starting point, focus on the manageable external factors,” suggests Cox. “Create strong governance – with fluid channels of communications across stakeholders – to oversee the migration within your business.” When implementing large scale technology shifts, communication consistency and cost benchmarking are building blocks of a solid foundation for change. 

SWIFT is committed to helping financial institutions overcome translation challenges

With market infrastructures migrating at different times, SWIFT is committed to helping financial institutions overcome translation challenges and risk of truncation. Stephen Lindsay, SWIFT Head of Standards, mentioned resources that will be made available including a transaction management platform SWIFT is building as part of its new strategy to enable additional functionality.

Harnessing data across the entire payments ecosystem

J.P. Morgan sees an opportunity for financial institutions to shift from passive to active in the data conversation. Instead of reformatting data on a continual basis to meet local requirements and adjusting back into SWIFT format, banks will spend less time manipulating data with the new standard. The power of ISO 20022 can be summed up as: an opportunity to harness data across the entire payment ecosystem to share information better, together.

J.P. Morgan is here to consult on ISO 20022 migration related questions and walk through the journey with you. 

To learn more, please contact your J.P. Morgan representative.




Listen to our webcast replay: Spotlight on ISO 20022

Learn more about the emerging global standard for payments and reporting messaging in a rapidly evolving digital world. As high value clearing systems and SWIFT cross-border formats migrate to ISO 20022, a more seamless cross-border data conversation is in store.

Learn how J.P. Morgan and SWIFT are managing the ISO migration

How Financial Institutions Can Unlock Value From APIs

Learn how financial institutions are able to benefit from the rapid expansion in Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to support intra-day liquidity management, track and trace payments in real-time and streamline cross-border currency transactions.

Read How Financial Institutions Can Unlock Value From APIs


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Treasury and Payments