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Financial Messaging

Financial Messaging has always been based on standards due to its highly business critical nature and the need for interoperability between systems. Now more than ever, standards evolve as technology evolves. XMLdation supports various financial messaging standards, which are listed below.

ISO 20022

ISO 20022 is the common vocabulary for the development of financial messages. It is the central international standard for financial messaging. We’ve dedicated a page to follow its development and our support for it.

XMLdation supports ISO 20022 in the following ways:

  • Using ISO 20022 as the message standard between banks and their corporate customers
  • Using ISO 20022 as the interbank message standard

SWIFT Standards

SWIFT provides the network that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardized and reliable environment. SWIFT has its own set of standards for financial messages.

Standard / Initiative Owner Stakeholders Purpose and use
MT SWIFT Banks and Corporates MT is the original message standard developed by SWIFT for carrying information over the SWIFT network between financial institutions.
MX SWIFT Banks and Corporates MX is a newer SWIFT message standard using an XML format based on ISO 20022. This is the standard SWIFT has chosen to migrate its MT messages to.
CBPR+ / MT-MX co-existence SWIFT Banks and Corporates Cross-Border Payments and Reporting Plus (CBPR+) group is the SWIFT working group which defines the market practices and message mappings in migration from MT to MX.
gpi SWIFT Banks and Corporates SWIFT global payments innovation (gpi) initiative ensures that customer credit transfers are processed faster, with greater transparency regarding fees, and with full end-to-end tracking. The SWIFT gpi has a specific rulebook, which must be followed by the banks who belong into the gpi closed user group.

Commonly-used international standards

The financial services industry uses a wealth of other standards governed by various bodies to send and receive financial messages.

Standard / Initiative Owner Stakeholders Purpose and use
ISO 8583 ISO Banks, merchants and Corporates ISO 8583 is the international standard for financial transaction card (such as credit card) originated messaging. However, many real-time payment schemes (for credit transfers) still use this standard for interbank transactions.
EDI / X12 FIN Accredited Standards Committee X12 Banks and Corporates EDI X12 messages and files are often used to submit data between corporates and banks.
EDIFACT UN Banks and Corporates United Nations/Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport (UN/EDIFACT) is the international EDI standard developed under the United Nations. Not used often in payments, but in other areas in financial services integration to bank partners.
NextGenPSD2 Access to Account (XS2A) Framework Berlin Group Banks, Fintechs, Corporates The NextGenPSD2 Framework offers a modern, open, harmonised and interoperable set of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) as the safest and most efficient way to provide data securely.
UK Open Banking UK Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) Banks and Corporates UK Open Banking is the PSD2 API implementation standard for United Kingdom. Open Banking specifies a single Access to Account API that must be implemented by all regulated banks.
Afinis NACHA Banks and Corporates Afinis Interoperability Standards works to advance API standardization and other financial services standards that enhance the efficiency and security of today’s modern financial industry.
Peppol OpenPEPPOL Banks and Corporates PEPPOL (Pan European Public eProcurement On-Line) is a set of technical specifications that can be implemented in existing eProcurement solutions and eBusiness exchange services to make them interoperable between disparate systems across Europe. PEPPOL enables trading partners to exchange standards-based electronic documents over the PEPPOL network. These documents include e-Orders, e-Advance Shipping Notes, eInvoices, eCatalogues, Message Level Responses, etc. Peppol messaging is based on UBL.

National standards

Historically, many countries and jurisdictions have defined their own market practices for financial messaging. Some of these national standards will eventually be migrated to ISO 20022, but are and will remain widely in use in the industry.

Standard / Initiative Owner and Country Stakeholders Purpose
US ACH (NACHA) NACHA, United States Banks, The Clearinghouse EPN ACH payments are one of the most popular methods for funds transfers in the United States. The standard for related financial messaging is governed by NACHA, the National Automated Clearing House Association. The actual processing and settlement is handle by The Clearinghouse and Federal Reserve. ACH payments can be any type of financial transactions for consumers, businesses, and federal, state, and local governments.
FedWire Federal Reserve System, United States Banks and Federal Reserve System Fedwire (formerly known as the Federal Reserve Wire Network) is a real-time gross settlement funds transfer system operated by the United States Federal Reserve Banks that allows financial institutions to electronically transfer funds between its participants.
BAI 1, 2, 3 ASC X9 Banks and Corporates BAI-file formats are cash management balance reporting specifications. They are widely in use especially in United States, even though there is a next generation reporting standard called the Balance Transaction Reporting Standard (BTRS).
BRTS ASC X9 Banks and Corporates BRTS is a cash management balance reporting specification that was created to align with ISO 20022.
Bulk Interac e-Transfer Interac Corp, Canada Banks and Corporates Interac is a Canadian interbank network that links financial institutions and other enterprises for the purpose of exchanging electronic financial transactions. Bulk Interac e-Transfer service allows a business to send funds to multiple recipients within one financial transaction.
Standard 005
(CPA 005 or AFT standard)
Payments Canada (CPA) Banks and Payments Canada Standard 005 defines the file format for electronic funds transfers in Canada using the Automated Funds Transfer system managed by Payments Canada, the national clearinghouse organisation in Canada (formerly known as Canadian Payments Association).
Zelle Zelle Inc, United States Banks and Corporates  
BACS pay.UK, United Kingdom Banks and pay.UK Bacs payment schemes are the automated payment methods in United Kingdom: Direct Debit and Bacs Direct Credit. Bacs file format standard is managed by the Bacs organisation which belongs to pay.UK, the company set up to run run the payment schemes in United Kingdom.
CREST CREST, United Kingdom CREST, Banks and Bank of England CREST is a central securities depository in United Kingdom. CREST message standard is a proprietary message standard containing messages for reconciliation and reporting of securities transactions.
Faster Payments (FPS) pay.UK, United Kingdom Banks Faster Payments Service is a near-real time payment method in United Kingdom. FPS file format standard is managed by the FPS organisation which belongs to pay.UK, the company set up to run run the payment schemes in United Kingdom.
Finvoice Finance Finland Banks and Corporates Finvoice is the electronic invoice message standard in Finland. Finvoice is governed by Finance Finland.

Other standards and proprietary data formats supported

Standard / Initiative Scheme owner and Country Stakeholders Purpose and use
JSON / Swagger N/A Banks and Corporates

JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) is a standard data interchange file format, that uses human-readable text to store and transmit data objects consisting of attribute–value pairs and array data types (or any other serializable value). Commonly used in banking APIs.

Swagger allows to describe the structure of API(s) so that machines can read them. Swagger can be represented either in JSON or YAML format (it’s possible to convert from one to another).

iDoc SAP Banks and Corporates IDoc is a file format for business transaction data transfers created by SAP AG. Commonly used in banking for carrying financial messages, such as payment instructions, from a SAP ERP system used by a large corporation to bank’s channels.
CSV N/A Banks and Corporates Many banks and corporates exchange data as proprietary comma-separate value messages in files.
Fixed-length message file format N/A Banks and Corporates Many banks and corporates exchange data as proprietary fixed length value messages in files.