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.
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)
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:
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 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.
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.
|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||
|Phase 3 ISO Enhancements||“Big bang” implementation to enable all Fedwire Funds Service participants to send optional enhancements.|
The key dates for each phase are outlined below.
|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 3 ISO 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:
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.
|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
|Fedwire Funds Service participants that use the offline service||
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.
The table below shows the different format specification documents that will be available in each phase.
||November 2017 (Final)|
||December 2017 (Draft )
June 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 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.
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; your institution does not need to take further action at this time if your vendor is listed on that page.
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.
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).
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.
|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|
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.