ISO 20022 (also called UNIFI, Universal Financial Industry Message Scheme) is the international standard for financial transactions such as Credit Transfer and Direct Debit.
The general public became aware of ISO 20022 through the introduction of the European retail payment service SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) in 2014 with IBAN and BIC for Credit Transfers and Direct Debits, both based on ISO 20022.
For most of the general public, IBAN and BIC is all there is to ISO 20022, but it extends far beyond that. Apart from standardizing on XML as transport format (eXtensible Mark-up Language), it also defines processes and rules for financial transactions and publishes them on its website, where they are accessible to everyone.
The presence of ISO 20022 as a universal standard implies that the specification of formats, processes and regulations becomes very complex in order to accommodate the requirements of all market participants such as banks, corporate customers, the public sector and retail customers from all around the globe. Moreover, the standard will continue to expand to new business segments and regions, which will result in further continuous adjustments over the coming years.
Therefore – even though ISO 20022 simplifies many processes – the implementation of ISO 20022 will continue to be a complex matter.
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