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Fedwire® Funds Services ISO 20022 Implementation Frequently Asked Questions (revised as of March 2020)

ISO 20022 Overview

  1. What is ISO 20022?

    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 the 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 use a common data dictionary, can carry a considerable amount of information, and can support payment messages from end to end, including the following:

    • Payment initiation (corporate to bank)
    • Interbank settlement (bank to bank)
    • Cash management (bank to corporate)

    The ISO 20022 standard is being adopted by an increasing number of the world’s payments, clearing, and settlement systems, including European countries, Japan, Switzerland, and India, and has attracted growing interest from financial institutions, corporations, and financial applications providers.

  2. Where can I learn about ISO 20022?

    The Business Payments Coalition (Off-site) has three publications, provided below, to help people learn more about ISO 20022. The BPC is an industry group of organizations and individuals working to promote adoption of electronic business-to-business (B2B) payments, remittance data, and invoices.

    1. Understanding ISO 20022 Resource Guide (2017) (Off-site, PDF)
      This guide is a compilation of existing resources that provide information on the ISO 20022 standard, including tools that help with transitioning to the new standard such as mapping tools and implementation guides.
    2. U.S. Adoption of ISO 20022 (2017) (Off-site, PDF)
      This white paper is a companion document to the Understanding ISO 20022 Resource Guide and provides evidence of U.S. adoption of ISO 20022 for corporate to bank payment operations.
    3. ISO 2002 in Plain English (Off-site, PDF)
      This is the presentation from webinar “Overview of ISO 20022: A Business Framework Discussion,” which covered the basics of ISO 20022 explained in plain language.

  3. What is a SWIFT Message Type? Is that the same as or different than the ISO 20022 message format?

    SWIFT Message Types (MTs) are the formats used to send messages on the SWIFT network to financial institutions. SWIFT MTs are different than ISO 20022 message formats, although there are certain similarities. SWIFT MTs were developed by SWIFT but incorporated into an ISO standard, ISO 15022. ISO 20022 is a new standard based in large part on the ISO 15022 standard but uses XML as its syntax.

  4. Can you provide an example of the ISO 20022 format?

    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.

    Fedwire Funds Service ISO 20022
    For each party field in a message, the Fedwire Funds Service 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)
  5. Can you provide some use cases to illustrate the potential benefits of the ISO 20022 format?

    In 2016, the Federal Reserve Banks presented a webinar, which includes use cases. It can be accessed directly at:

    A presentation deck used in the webinar can be accessed directly at:

Fedwire Funds Service ISO 20022 Implementation

  1. Why are the Federal Reserve Banks implementing ISO 20022 payment messages for the Fedwire Funds Service?

    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 from Fedwire Funds Service participants for richer data, help participants more easily comply with evolving regulatory requirements, help improve the Fedwire Funds Service’s interoperability with other payment systems in the interconnected, global economy, and help participants provide enhanced services to their clients. The table below illustrates some strategic reasons for adopting ISO 20022 messages for the Fedwire Funds Service.

    Strategic Reasons to Adopt ISO 20022
    Reason Description
    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:
    • Reduce the need for market practices that arise due to inconsistent formats and field and/or message capacity limitations
    • Improve extended remittance information capabilities
    • Support value-added services (e.g., payment tracking & prioritization, administrative and reporting functions)
    U.S. payment systems could fall behind the rest of the world and be perceived as “outdated” Lack of ISO 20022 adoption could:
    • Degrade the U.S. dollar’s leadership as a global settlement currency
    • Encourage migration of U.S. dollar clearing offshore, to other currencies, or to emerging payment systems built with new technologies.
  2. What will change in the Fedwire Funds Service as a result of implementing the ISO 20022 messaging standard?

    The Federal Reserve Banks will implement 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.


  3. How will the Federal Reserve Banks migrate Fedwire Funds Service participants to the ISO 20022 format?

    The Federal Reserve Banks are reassessing the current three-phased ISO 20022 migration strategy for the Fedwire Funds Service based on a request from the Payments Market Practice Group, a payments best practices expert group, to reconsider a phased implementation in favor of a same-day one. The Federal Reserve Banks are conducting a reassessment of the implementation strategy and will provide an update to the public once the reassessment is complete.

  4. Why are the Federal Reserve Banks pausing the ISO 20022 migration strategy?

    The Federal Reserve Banks received a request from the Payments Market Practice Group (PMPG) (Off-site) to reconsider the phased ISO 20022 migration strategy in favor of a same-day implementation to fully enhanced ISO 20022 messages (i.e., ISO 20022 messages that contain new data elements and character lengths that are not supported in the proprietary message format today). After SWIFT announced in 2018 that it would enable its participants to send ISO 20022 messages over its global network starting in November 2021, the financial institutions that participate on the PMPG indicated that phased implementation increases cross-border interoperability issues. If funds-transfer systems in local jurisdictions cannot send or receive fully enhanced ISO 20022 messages by November 2021, they might have to truncate data. Consequently, the PMPG has asked the Federal Reserve Banks and other high-value payment system operators around the world to adopt a common approach to implementing fully enhanced ISO 20022 messages, including complementary target implementation dates.

  5. What factors will be considered in the reassessment of the ISO 20022 migration strategy for the Fedwire Funds Service?

    The Federal Reserve Banks’ reassessment will include analyses of potential options to support a new implementation strategy, including risk mitigation strategies to reduce the risks associated with a same-day implementation to fully enhanced ISO 20022 messages. The reassessment will also include discussions with Fedwire Funds Service participants to help to ensure an appropriately harmonized implementation approach for U.S. high-value payments. Based on the conclusions of the reassessment, the Federal Reserve Banks will announce revised implementation plans, which may include a new migration strategy or reconfirm a phased strategy with a revised timeline.

  6. When will the reassessment of the ISO 20022 migration strategy for the Fedwire Funds Service be completed?

    The Federal Reserve Banks plan to complete the reassessment over the coming months. If a new migration strategy is selected, the Board of Governors may solicit additional public comment feedback about the new strategy through the Federal Register process.

  7. What do I need to do to prepare for the Fedwire Funds Service’s implementation of ISO 20022 messages?

    The extent of your preparations will largely depend on:

    • How much technology you have integrated with the processing of your outgoing and incoming Fedwire Funds Service messages
    • The degree to which you perform your own software development
    • The degree to which you rely on service providers and/or software vendors to provide an interface to the Fedwire Funds Service
  8. What is the impact of the ISO 20022 implementation on my institution?
    The table below shows how particular types of Fedwire Funds Service participants (or their service providers) will be affected by the ISO 20022 implementation.
    Type of Fedwire Funds Service Participant Impact of ISO 20022 Implementation
    Fedwire Funds Service participants and service providers that access the service via the FedLine Direct® 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 ISO 20002 message formats.

    This group 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. These documents are posted to the Federal Reserve Banks’ private page on the MyStandards website.

    Note: If your institution works with a vendor, check this website to see if your software vendor is listed. If your vendor is not listed on the website, please submit the legal name of the vendor (Off-site) as well as contact information for the vendor.
    Fedwire Funds Service participants that use the Import/Export feature of FedPayments® Manager – Funds over the FedLine Advantage® solution Participants may need to make significant changes to their payment applications or processes so they can import and export files with ISO 20022-formatted messages.

    This group will need to obtain the ISO 20022 format specification documents (including the import/export file specification document), which will outline the changes needed to accommodate the ISO 20022 format for the Fedwire Funds Service. These documents are posted to the Federal Reserve Banks’ private page on the MyStandards website.

    Note: If your institution works with a vendor, check this website to see if your software vendor is listed. If your vendor is not listed on the website, please submit the legal name of the vendor (Off-site) as well as contact information for the vendor.
    Fedwire Funds Service participants that manually create messages directly in FedPayments Manager–Funds (accessed through the FedLine Advantage solution) The Federal Reserve Banks will make the necessary changes to the FedPayments Manager–Funds application and provide training on enhanced features.

    This group will need to become familiar with the look and feel of the updated application and with the enhanced features.

    Some participants that manually create messages but use the export feature to download their messages may need to make changes to their processes (e.g., for OFAC scanning, for saving messages to archives).

    Note: If your institution works with a vendor, check this website to see if your software vendor is listed. If your vendor is not listed on the website, please submit the legal name of the vendor (Off-site) as well as contact information for the vendor.
    Fedwire Funds Service participants that use the offline service Participants’ current process for submitting messages to the offline service will not materially change.

    There may be marginal changes around the type of information Wholesale Operations Site operators collect by telephone, as well as the order in which they collect the information, based on the new message format.
  9. Will the ISO 20022 implementation also apply to the Fedwire Securities Service or the FedACH Service?

    No, the Federal Reserve Banks are not implementing ISO 20022 messages for the Fedwire Securities Service or the FedACH Service. ISO 20022 messages are being implemented only for the Fedwire Funds Service.

Format Documentation

  1. How will my institution get the format specifications to prepare for the ISO 20022 Fedwire Funds Service implementation?

    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 so they can prepare for the implementation of ISO 20022 messages for the Fedwire Funds Service. A separate communication was previously sent to authorized individuals at your institution with instructions to gain access to the Federal Reserve Banks’ private page on the MyStandards website.

    • If your institution performs its own software development, authorized technical staff at your institution will need to obtain the Fedwire Funds Service format specification documents. If you have not yet requested MyStandards access for those individuals, please contact your account executive.
    • If your institution uses software developed by an outside vendor, the Federal Reserve Banks are working directly with the vendors to provide access to the format documents. Check this website to see if your software vendor is listed. If your vendor is not listed on the website, please submit the legal name of the vendor (Off-site) as well as contact information.
    • 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 provide those other institutions with access to the MyStandards platform. 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. We strongly encourage you to communicate this approach to those other institutions.

  2. My institution acts as a service provider for other institutions. Will our customers need to sign up for access to MyStandards?

    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.

Software Vendor Information

  1. What do I need to do if I use a software application other than the FedPayments Manager to create funds-transfer messages that are submitted to the Fedwire Funds Service for processing?

    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.

  2. My vendor is not on the list you mentioned in response to question D1. What does my institution need to do to ensure our vendor is included?

    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 legal name of the vendor (Off-site) as well as the contact information so the Federal Reserve Banks may provide the necessary information to the vendor.

    Submit Software Vendor Contact Information (Off-site)

Testing Strategy

  1. When will the testing strategy for the ISO 20022 implementation for the Fedwire Funds Service be available?

    The Federal Reserve Banks will evaluate the testing strategy for the ISO 20022 implementation for the Fedwire Funds Service once the reassessment of the migration strategy is complete.

Education and Training

  1. Where can I get more information on the ISO 20022 implementation for the Fedwire Funds Service?

    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 Fedwire Funds Service ISO 20022 Implementation Center page. For additional background information, please visit Adoption of ISO 20022 (Off-site). You can also request a free copy of ISO 20022 for Dummies (Off-site).

  2. We create wires manually in FedPayments Manager–Funds application. How will we get trained on the new screens?

    The Federal Reserve Banks will provide training webinars to help Fedwire Funds Service participants familiarize themselves with any screens that will be changed to accommodate the ISO 20022 implementation for the Fedwire Funds Service.

Additional Questions

  1. My institution uses templates in the FedPayments Manager–Funds application. How will we be impacted?

    If your institution uses templates in the FedPayments Manager–Funds application, these templates will no longer work once the Fedwire Funds Service implements the ISO 20022 message format. Your institution will be required to recreate templates that you need in the new format after the new format is implemented.

    To prepare for this change, your institution can:

    • review how the templates are currently being used;
    • consider reducing the number of templates you have and only keep those that are critical for your operation;
    • once the new format is available, test in the Depository Institution Test environment to become familiar with the template feature in the new format (templates that are created can be saved in the DIT for use as a reference); and,
    • be prepared to recreate those critical templates in the new format after the new format is implemented.

  2. Will broadcast messages for E-Payments Directory and Fedwire Securities Service move to the ISO 20022 standard?

    Broadcast messages related to the E-Payments Directory and Fedwire Securities Service will remain in the legacy format.

  3. We receive the end-of-day Financial Institution Reconcilement Data (FIRD) file from the Fed. Will this file be changed in anyway with the ISO 20022 project?

    The Federal Reserve Banks will implement a change to one field that contains the type/subtype code (i.e., four numeric characters). This field will be replaced by a new local instrument code, which will be in four alphanumeric characters. The timing of this change is to be determined. See example below:

    Example of the Message Type with the Type/Subtype and the Local Instrument Code
    Message Type Type/Subtype Local Instrument Code
    Customer Transfer 1000 CTR0
    Bank Transfer 1600 BTR6
  4. How will retrievals be supported when the new format is implemented?

    For users of FedPayments Manager – Funds application via the FedLine Advantage solution:

    Fedwire Funds Service participants will continue to be able to retrieve past messages for the prior 15 months. Each past message will be formatted in the version in which it was created and will display as such upon retrieval.

    For users of the FedLine Direct solution:

    Fedwire Funds Service participants and service providers will continue to be able to retrieve messages from the current Fedwire funds-transfer business day and the two prior funds-transfer business days. The Federal Reserve Banks will deliver past messages in the format that the messages was created in.

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