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Fedwire® Funds Services ISO 20022 Implementation Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is ISO 20022?

    ISO refers to the International Organization for Standardization, which is a network of national standards bodies that develop international standards. ISO publishes standards for a broad range of industries. The United States is a member of and contributor to ISO standards for the financial industry through Accredited Standards Committee X9–Financial Industry Standards, Inc.

    The ISO 20022 standard supports financial messaging and uses extensible markup language (XML) syntax. ISO 20022 messages can carry a considerable amount of information and are based on a common data dictionary that can support payment message flows from end to end, including the following:

    • Payment initiation (corporate to bank)
    • Interbank settlement (bank to bank)
    • Cash management (bank to corporate)

    The ISO standard is being adopted by an increasing number of the world’s payments, clearing & settlement systems (Europe, Japan, Switzerland, India, Canada...and more) and growing interest from financial institutions, corporations and financial applications providers.

  2. What is a SWIFT Message Type (MT)? Is that the same as or different than the ISO 20022 message format?

    SWIFT Message Types (MTs) are the format or schema used to send messages to financial institutions on the SWIFT network. The original message types were developed by SWIFT but retroactively incorporated into an ISO standard, ISO 15022. ISO 20022 is a new standard based in large part on the ISO 15022 standard but using XML as its syntax.

  3. Can you provide an example of how the ISO 20022 format looks?

    The following example uses the address fields to illustrate one difference between the current Fedwire Funds Service proprietary message format and the ISO 20022 format.

    Current Format to ISO Format Comparison

    Comparison of Current and ISO Formats
    For each of the party fields in the message, the Fedwire Funds Service proprietary format contains three free-text lines for address information. The ISO 20022 format uses XML syntax and contains discrete fields designed to contain specific address information, which makes it easier to identify components of the address (e.g., country code).
    Address Line 1 (up to 35 characters)
    Address Line 2 (up to 35 characters)
    Address Line 3 (up to 35 characters)
    Postal Address <PstlAdr>
    <AdrTp> (4 characters)
    <Dept> (up to 70 characters)
    <SubDept> (up to 70 characters)
    <StrtNm> (up to 70 characters)
    <BldgNb> (up to 16 characters)
    <PstCd> (up to 16 characters)
    <TwnNm> (up to 35 characters)
    <CtrySubDvsn> (up to 35 characters)
    <Ctry> (2 characters)
  4. Why are the Federal Reserve Banks adopting ISO 20022 payment messages for the Fedwire Funds Service?

    The Federal Reserve Banks are adopting ISO 20022 messages for the Fedwire Funds Service as a strategic imperative. We believe modernizing the Fedwire Funds Service’s message format represents an investment for the future. Adopting the ISO 20022 message standard should help the Federal Reserve Banks meet increasing demands by customers for richer data, help customers more easily comply with evolving regulatory requirements, help improve the service’s interoperability with other payment systems given the interconnected, global economy, and help customers provide enhanced services to their clients. The table on the following page illustrates some strategic reasons for adopting ISO 20022 messages for the Fedwire Funds Service that were identified by the independent consultant that the Federal Reserve Banks, along with other organizations, retained to study the business case for adoption.

    Strategic Reasons to Adopt ISO 20022

    ISO Implementation Reasons and Descriptions
    Reason Description
    Provides richer data The ISO 20022 format contains structured fields to support longer names and specific address components, including a country code, which could reduce the risk of data loss and might improve the regulatory screening process.

    The ISO 20022 format supports a structured format for extended remittance information, which could improve straight-through processing for corporate business-to-business payments.
    Promotes domestic & cross-border interoperability A common format promotes ease of transacting domestically and globally by using a single, open standard rather than multiple proprietary standards, which require mapping and can be costly and cumbersome for banks, corporates, and vendors.

    The ISO 20022 format contains fields that are common across the suite of ISO 20022 payment messages so that the same information can be carried from end to end of a funds transfer, which could increase accuracy and straight-through processing and reduce operating costs for all participants.

    Other payments markets, including those of key U.S. trading partners, have gone live with ISO 20022 (e.g., Bangladesh, Brunei, China, India, Japan, Switzerland) or are in the development stages of implementing ISO 20022 (e.g., Canada, Europe, United Kingdom).
    Provides opportunities to improve existing processes or add new services Moving to a common global format could:
    • Reduce the need for market practices that arise due to inconsistent formats and field and/or message capacity limitations
    • Improve extended remittance information capabilities
    • Support value-added services (e.g., payment tracking & prioritization, administrative and reporting functions)
    U.S. payment systems could fall behind the rest of the world and be perceived as “outdated” Lack of ISO 20022 adoption could:
    • Degrade the U.S. dollar’s leadership as a global settlement currency
    • Encourage migration of U.S. dollar clearing offshore, to other currencies, or to emerging payment systems built with new technologies.
  5. Can you provide some use cases to illustrate the potential benefits of the ISO 20022 format?

    In 2016, the Federal Reserve Banks presented a webinar on ISO 20022 Use Cases for U.S. Wire Transfer Systems. The webinar presentation and recording can be found on the FedPaymentsImprovement.org website (Off-site) under "Event Summaries and Recordings" or directly at:


  6. What will change in the Fedwire Funds Service as a result of implementing the ISO 20022 messaging standard?

    The Federal Reserve Banks will adopt ISO 20022 messages for both domestic and cross-border funds transfers, as well as all other inputs and outputs from the Fedwire Funds Service (i.e., all message types, inquiries, reports, etc.).

    The Fedwire Funds Service’s ISO 20022 implementation will also include enhancements based on customer feedback, including new fields for additional persons or entities identified in payment messages, purpose codes to help explain the business purpose of funds transfers, and structured address components, including a country code. The Federal Reserve Banks will provide additional information about the enhancements during the educational outreach events (i.e., in-person sessions and webinars) planned for the first half of 2018. See question 20 for additional details.

  7. How will the Federal Reserve Banks migrate Fedwire Funds Service participants to the ISO 20022 format?

    Based on customer feedback, the ISO 20022 implementation will have three phases and will include a mandated sunset date for the Fedwire Funds Service’s legacy proprietary message format.

    Three Phases of the ISO 20022 Implementation for the Fedwire Funds Service
    Phase Implementation Approach
    Phase 1 ISO Preparation “Big bang” implementation to align with SWIFT Message Type (MT) changes to originator and beneficiary fields and to prepare for and simplify the Fedwire Funds Service’s migration to ISO 20022 messages in Phases 2 and 3.
    Phase 2 ISO Like for Like
    • Migrate Fedwire Funds Service participants in waves over 18 months to send and receive ISO 20022 messages that have fields and character lengths that are comparable to the legacy format.
    • The Fedwire Funds Service will translate the legacy format to ISO 20022 and vice versa when necessary to accommodate Fedwire senders and receivers that are not using the same format.
    • Fedwire Funds Service participants cannot send any enhancements during this phase; however, they will be required to demonstrate their ability in the Federal Reserve Banks’ test environment to receive ISO 20022 messages with the enhancements that will go live in Phase 3.
    • The Federal Reserve Banks will sunset the legacy format at end of this phase.
    Phase 3 ISO Enhancements “Big bang” implementation to enable all Fedwire Funds Service participants to send optional enhancements.
  8. What are the key dates of the implementation plan?

    The key dates for each phase are outlined below.

    Implementation Key Dates
    Phase Implementation Date
    Phase 1 ISO Preparation Saturday, November 21, 2020, with effect for the funds-transfer business day of Monday, November 23, 2020
    Phase 2 ISO Like for Like Migrate participants in waves over 18 months to send and receive the ISO 20022 message format, which has fields and character lengths that are comparable to the legacy format:
    • Phase 2 begins Q1 2022
    • Phase 2 ends Q3 2023
    Phase 3 ISO Enhancements Enable participants to send optional enhancements in Q4 2023
  9. Will the implementation phases overlap? For example, will Phase 1 and Phase 2 take place concurrently?

    No, the implementation phases will not overlap.

    Phase 1 is underway now and will be complete for all Fedwire Funds Service participants when the Fedwire Funds Service opens on Sunday evening, November 22, 2020, for the Monday, November 23, 2020, funds-transfer business day.

    Phase 2 will begin after Phase 1 is complete. This phase will begin in Q1 2022 and will involve migrating Fedwire Funds Service participants in waves over 18 months. Additional details will follow as the Federal Reserve Banks finalize the migration strategy. This phase will end in Q3 2023.

    Phase 3 will begin after Phase 2 is complete (i.e., after all Fedwire Funds Service participants have been migrated to the ISO 20022 message format). The date on which Phase 3 will be completed is yet to be determined but is planned to be in Q4 2023.

  10. What do I need to do to prepare for the Fedwire Funds Service’s implementation of ISO 20022 messages?

    The extent of your preparations will largely depend on:

    • How much technology you have integrated with the processing of your outgoing and incoming Fedwire Funds Service messages
    • The degree to which you perform your own software development
    • The degree to which you rely on service providers and/or software vendors to provide an interface to the Fedwire Funds Service
  11. What is the impact of the ISO 20022 implementation on my institution?

    Once the Federal Reserve Banks publish draft ISO 20022 format specifications for the Fedwire Funds Service later this year, participants may start their application development process and begin testing, though they should understand that the specifications will be subject to change. Finalized specifications will be published in the second quarter of 2018. Companies that develop software products that interface with the Fedwire Funds Service will also need to adapt and test those products to ensure they will be able to successfully interface with the Fedwire Funds Service once the format change is implemented.

    The table below shows how particular types of Fedwire Funds Service participants (or their service providers) will be affected by the ISO 20022 implementation.

    Customer Impact by Participant Method of Access
    Fedwire Funds Service Participants/Service Providers Impact
    Fedwire Funds Service participants and service providers that access the service via the FedLine Direct® solution or use the Import/Export feature of FedPayments® Manager – Funds over the FedLine Advantage® solution Participants may need to make (or may need to ensure their service providers make) significant changes to their payment applications or processes so they can send and receive messages in the new ISO 20002 message formats or import and export files with ISO 20022-formatted messages.

    This group of Fedwire Funds Service participants and service providers will need to obtain the ISO 20022 format specification documents, which will outline the changes needed to accommodate the ISO 20022 format for the Fedwire Funds Service. The Federal Reserve Banks will provide these Fedwire Funds participants and service providers with information about how to register for SWIFT’s MyStandards® service to obtain the ISO 20022 format specification documents when they become available later this year.

    Fedwire Funds Service participants that enter messages directly into FedPayments Manager–Funds over the FedLine Advantage solution

    • The Federal Reserve Banks will make the necessary changes to the FedPayments Manager–Funds application and provide training on enhanced features.
    • Participants will need to become familiar with the look and feel of the updated application and with the enhanced features.
    Fedwire Funds Service participants that use the offline service
    • Participants’ current process for submitting messages to the offline service will not materially change.
    • There may be marginal changes around the type of information Wholesale Operations Site operators collect by telephone, as well as the order in which they collect the information, based on the new message format.
  12. My institution uses templates in the FedPayments Manager-Funds application. Will I have to update my templates?

    If your institution has developed its own templates in the FedPayments Manager-Funds application, you will need to update the templates to address changes to the format introduced by the ISO 20022 adoption.

  13. What documentation will be available to explain the ISO 20022 implementation for the Fedwire Funds Service?

    The table below shows the different format specification documents that will be available in each phase. 

    Documentation Availability on MyStandards by Phase
    Release Documentation Date Available
    Phase 1
    ISO Preparation
    • Fedwire Application Interface Manual (FAIM) version 4.0
    • High-level scope document highlighting changes
    November 2017 (Final)
    Phase 2
    ISO Like-for-Like
    &
    Phase 3
    ISO Enhancements
    • Mapping Spreadsheets – Two Excel® spreadsheets that map the legacy FAIM 4.0 format to ISO 20022 messages.
    • Usage Guidelines – There will be 24 ISO 20022 usage guidelines in total, but only 20 guidelines for each implementation phase.
      • ISO Like-for-Like – 20 guidelines (4 of these will be replaced with new guidelines in ISO Enhanced)
      • ISO Enhanced – 20 guidelines
    • Implementation “Rulebook”
      • Overview of ISO 20022 implementation for the Fedwire Funds Service
      • Message flow diagrams
      • Best practices
    December 2017 (Draft )
    June 2018 (Final)
  14. How will my institution get the format specifications to prepare for the ISO 20022 Fedwire Funds Service implementation?

    The Federal Reserve Banks will utilize a private page on SWIFT’s MyStandards website to provide Fedwire Funds Service format specification documents to Fedwire Funds Service participants like your institution so they can prepare for the phased implementation of ISO 20022 messages for the Fedwire Funds Service.

    In October 2017, the Federal Reserve Banks sent a communication to Fedwire Funds Service participants and their service providers that access the service via the FedLine Direct solution to inform them about the process to obtain access to the MyStandards service.

    Authorized software development (ASD) staff at your institution will need these technical documents if your institution does its own programming to interface your payment applications with the Fedwire Funds Service.

    If your institution needs the format documents, your institution will need to designate one of its End User Authorization Contacts (EUACs) to identify all ASD staff by submitting an online form (Off-site) to provide email addresses of those individuals at your institution who should have access to the Fedwire Funds Service Participants Community on the MyStandards website.

    Important: Your institution should not include on that form any individuals working for software vendors. Vendors will receive a separate communication outlining the steps they need to follow to access the format documents.

    In 2018, the Federal Reserve Banks will send a separate communication to Fedwire Funds Service participants that access the service using the import/export features of FedPayments Manager–Funds over the FedLine Advantage solution with instructions on how to gain access to the Fedwire Funds Service Participants Community on the MyStandards website.

    Fedwire Funds Service participants that use the offline service or that enter messages directly into FedPayments Manager–Funds will not need access to the format specification documents because the Federal Reserve Banks will make the necessary changes to the Federal Reserve Banks’ offline application and to the FedPayments Manager–Funds application.

  15. My institution acts as a service provider for other institutions. Will our customers need to sign up for access to MyStandards?

    If your institution acts as a service provider to send and receive Fedwire Funds Service messages for other institutions, the Federal Reserve Banks do not plan to separately provide those institutions with access to the MyStandards website.

    If you are aware that those institutions nevertheless have a business need to view the Fedwire Funds Service format specification documents, please contact your account executive.

  16. What do I need to do if I use a software application other than the FedPayments Manager to create funds-transfer messages that are submitted to the Fedwire Funds Service for processing?

    As part of their work implementing ISO 20022 messages for the Fedwire Funds Service, the Federal Reserve Banks plan to work directly with software vendors whose products interface with the Fedwire Funds Service.

    To date, the Federal Reserve Banks are aware of the software vendors whose products interface with the Fedwire Funds Service identified on this page. The Federal Reserve Banks will provide the Fedwire Funds Service format specification documents directly to those vendors; your institution does not need to take further action at this time if your vendor is listed on that page.

  17. My vendor is not on the list you mentioned in response to question 16. What does my institution need to do to ensure our vendor is included?

    If your institution uses a vendor that provides software products that interface with the Fedwire Funds Service, including products that take advantage of the FedPayments Manager–Funds import/export feature but the name of that vendor does not appear on this page, please submit the name of your vendor and its contact information, so the Federal Reserve Banks may provide the necessary information to the vendor.

    Submit Software Vendor Contact Information

  18. Where can I get more information on the ISO 20022 implementation for the Fedwire Funds Service?

    For the latest information on the Federal Reserve Banks’ approach to implementing ISO 20022 messages for the Fedwire Funds Service and planned educational outreach events, please visit the Implementation Updates (Off-site) page on FedPaymentsImprovement.org. For additional background information, please visit The Fed’s Resource Center for Adoption of ISO 20022 for Wire Transfers and ACH Payments (Off-site). You can also request a free copy of ISO 20022 for Dummies (Off-site).

  19. How can I learn more about the ISO 20022 implementation for the Fedwire Funds Service?

    The Federal Reserve Banks have designed an educational outreach program to increase awareness of their ISO 20022 initiative for the Fedwire Funds Service and the changes it will bring. As described in the table below, the outreach program consists of webinars and in-person sessions that are customized to particular target audiences. All webinars will be recorded for those who are not able to participate during the scheduled dates.

    Please note that to attend the advanced sessions staff must have participated in or viewed a recording of the Intermediate – Phases 2 & 3 webinar.

    Education Opportunities

    ISO Education Opportunities
    Level Date Time Description Target audience
    Intermediate – Phases 2 & 3
    Prerequisite for Advanced
    Q1 2018 (webinar) TBD Review of Phase 2 scope, introduction of usage guidelines, implementation rulebook, message flow diagrams, initial thoughts on migration approach and testing plan, and review enhancements in Phase 3 Product managers, business contacts, and technical leads (application development/
    business analysts/quality assurance)
    Advanced Q2 2018 (in-person sessions at Federal Reserve Bank locations) TBD High-level overview of content covered in Intermediate Phase 2 & 3 session and detailed walk-through of Phase 2 & 3 usage guidelines Business analysts that will document the business/system process, technical staff that will make programming changes and conduct testing, and product management staff to plan for testing and implementation
  20. Will the ISO 20022 implementation also apply to the Fedwire Securities Service?

    No, the Federal Reserve Banks are not implementing ISO 20022 messages for the Fedwire Securities Service. ISO 20022 messages are being implemented only for the Fedwire Funds Service.

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