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:
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.
The Business Payments Coalition (Off-site) (BPC) has two publications to help people learn more about ISO 20022. The BPC is a volunteer industry group of organizations and individuals working together to promote greater adoption of electronic business-to-business (B2B) payments, remittance data, and invoices. The BPC promotes awareness of and education about ISO 20022 as a service to their membership.
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.
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.
|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)
Answer – 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:
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.
|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:
|U.S. payment systems could fall behind the rest of the world and be perceived as “outdated”||Lack of ISO 20022 adoption could:
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. You can view the webinar recordings under the Educational Event Summaries and Recordings section to learn more about the changes with this project.
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.
ISO 20022 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.|
ISO 20022 Like for Like
ISO 20022 Enhancements
|“Big bang” implementation to enable all Fedwire Funds Service participants to send optional enhancements.|
The key dates for each phase are outlined below.
ISO 20022 Preparation
|Saturday, November 21, 2020, with effect for the funds-transfer business day of Monday, November 23, 2020|
ISO 20022 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:
ISO 20022 Enhancements
|Enable participants to send optional enhancements in Q4 2023|
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.
The extent of your preparations will largely depend on:
The Federal Reserve Banks have published ISO 20022 format specifications for the Fedwire Funds Service. Participants may start their application development process and begin testing. 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.
|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 manually create messages directly into FedPayments Manager–Funds over the FedLine Advantage solution
|Fedwire Funds Service participants that use the offline service||
No, the Federal Reserve Banks are not implementing ISO 20022 messages for the Fedwire Securities Service or the FedACH Service. ISO 20022 messages are being implemented only for the Fedwire Funds Service.
The table below shows the different format specification documents that will be available in each phase.
ISO 20022 Preparation
||March 2018 (Final)|
ISO 20022 Like-for-Like
ISO 20022 Enhancements
||July 2018 (Final)|
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 so they can prepare for the phased implementation of ISO 20022 messages for the Fedwire Funds Service. A separate communication was previously sent to authorized individuals at your institution with instructions to gain access to the Federal Reserve Banks’ private page on the MyStandards website.
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.
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.
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 legal name of the vendor (Off-site) as well as the contact information so the Federal Reserve Banks may provide the necessary information to the vendor.
The Federal Reserve Banks plan to make the DIT available for customer and software vendor testing as noted below:
Fedwire Funds Service participants and service providers that access the service via the FedLine Direct solution and/or that use the import/export feature of the FedPayments Manager–Funds application will be required to complete testing. In 2019, the Federal Reserve Banks will to share details about the testing strategy for all phases of the ISO 20022 implementation.
In 2019, the Federal Reserve Banks will leverage the MyStandards Readiness Portal to allow customers and vendors to test their schemas against the ISO 20022 usage guidelines for the Fedwire Funds Service.
The Federal Reserve Banks plan to publish the testing strategy for Phase 1 by yearend 2018. For Phases 2 and 3 testing strategy and customer migration strategy for Phase 2 will be announced in 2019.
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 Fedwire Funds Service ISO 20022 Implementation Center page. 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).
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. You can view the webinar recordings under the Educational Event Summaries and Recordings section to learn more about this project.
In late 2019, the Federal Reserve Banks will host webinars to help Fedwire Funds Service participants familiarize themselves with the new look and feel of the screens for the Phase 1 implementation. Training webinars for Phases 2 and 3 will be announced at a later date.
If your institution uses templates in the FedPayments Manager–Funds application, these templates will no longer work when the Phase 1 release is implemented in November 2020. Given significant changes that will be included in this release, the Federal Reserve Banks will not be able to convert existing templates that have been created in the current format version. Your institution will be required to recreate templates that you need in the new format after Phase 1 is implemented.
To prepare for this change, your institution can:
Broadcast messages related to the E-Payments Directory and Fedwire Securities Service will remain in the legacy format.
The Federal Reserve Banks will implement a change to one field that contains the type/subtype code (i.e., four numeric characters). With the Phase 2 implementation targeted to begin in March 2022, this field will be replaced by a new local instrument code, which will be in four alphanumeric characters. See example below:
|Message Type||Type/Subtype||Local Instrument Code|