Building block 14: Adopting a harmonised ISO 20022 version for message formats (including rules for conversion/mapping)

ISO 20022 is a single standardisation approach as the common messaging standard for the financial industry. It will allow payment systems to share data, particularly across borders, with richer and more structured data information. Promoting the adoption of common message formats and the harmonised implementation of ISO 20022 can play an important role in payment system interoperability and, more generally, in addressing data standards and quality and quantity restrictions in cross-border payments. Common industry-standardised message formats can lead to significant efficiency gains by avoiding the need for processing interfaces, system schemas or data enhancement, thus facilitating data interoperability and potentially reducing operational costs for new adopters, and in time allowing movement towards fully automated straight through processing (STP) functionalities. 


Existing ISO 20022 message usage guidelines for payments at the jurisdictional or global level provide a strong foundation for transitioning from legacy standards to ISO 20022 during the coexistence period (2022–25) of the SWIFT MT standard and ISO 20022. However, it is recognised that additional, overarching harmonisation guidelines are needed to ensure that the benefits of ISO 20022 can be optimised for cross-border payments once the coexistence period ends. International work on the development of these overarching guidelines for ISO 20022 in cross-border payments is ongoing. As part of action 2, the CPMI is liaising with relevant stakeholders in this regard.


  • In late 2021, the CPMI conducted a stocktake of ISO 20022 migration plans of payment systems.
  • A joint task force of ISO 20022 specialists from the CPMI and the SWIFT Payments Market Practice Group (PMPG) has developed technical harmonisation requirements for the use of ISO 20022 messages in cross-border payments, which is presented in a CPMI report for public consultation.