Building block 15: Harmonising API protocols for data exchange

Payment service providers, financial institutions and other entities in the payments ecosystem use application programming interfaces (APIs) to enhance efficiency, facilitate automation and extend payment functionality. For cross-border payments, API harmonisation has the potential to improve transaction times and reduce costs (eg those associated with regulatory compliance). However, to date, different standards of API protocols have been implemented to cater to specific needs, including regulatory expectations or requirements, where they exist. To overcome this fragmentation of API protocols, various initiatives are under way worldwide for standardisation of APIs in different sectors. The BB15 actions seek to ensure consistency in the functional and technical specifications of these initiatives, facilitating the integration and interoperability of payment systems.


Promoting the adoption of common message formats, such as a harmonised version of ISO 20022 and API protocols, can play an important role in payment system interlinking and, more generally, in addressing data standards and quality and quantity restrictions in cross-border payments. Common standardised message formats can lead to additional efficiency gains, by avoiding workarounds and translation from one implementation to another during integration of systems, thus facilitating interoperability and reducing the implementation costs for new providers and helping to achieve fully automated straight through processing functionalities.


  • A stocktake analysis for BB15 was concluded and its findings incorporated in the CPMI report to the G20, providing a framework for interlinking of payment systems and the role of APIs in such a use case.