ISO 20022 XML transition

ISO 20022 XML transition

The use of different financial messaging standards creates problems in automating payments from end to end. ISO 20022 is solving this challenge through a globally accepted standard that improves payment efficiency while reducing risk.

Real-time payment networks (such as The Clearing House’s RTP network) and high-value payment systems in more than 70 countries already use the ISO 20022 MX format. By 2025, MX will be the global standard for financial messaging, replacing propriety formats used by payment systems such as SWIFT, CHIPS, and Fedwire Funds.

We are a key player in shaping the financial industry’s transition to ISO 20022. By leveraging this global standard, we will provide our customers with an optimal payment experience based on their needs.

Understanding the ISO 20022 transition

What is ISO 20022?

ISO 20022 is a strategic industry initiative to replace proprietary message formats with a standard format and definition of data elements. This can improve payment processing efficiency and interoperability among payment systems around the world. 

What makes ISO 20022 special is its use of Extensible Markup Language (XML), which provides a common language for systems and people to exchange information about financial business. ISO 20022 uses common message components that are reusable in other message formats, enabling payment systems to customize data elements to meet their unique needs.


Why is it important?

Data-rich payment messages will post automatically, eliminating manual touchpoints for faster reconciliation, increased straight-through processing, and reduced risk of fraud. Potential benefits include the following:

  • Increased payment efficiency and automation. Payments move seamlessly through domestic and cross-border payment systems.
  • Reduced costs and potential risk. The standard format enables automated file posting, eliminating manual entry and intervention. 
  • Enhanced customer experience. Data-rich payments provide consistent, detailed transaction information. MX messages can contain up to 10,000 KB of transaction information, compared with 100 KB for messages today. 
  • Improved compliance. The common language reduces false positives during sanctions screening.

When is the transition happening

Financial infrastructures worldwide must adopt ISO 20022 payments by 2025. Payment systems are moving to the standard on different schedules, beginning in March 2023.

Payment system
Transition date
SWIFT, Europe Target 2
Starting March 2023. SWIFT MT and ISO 20022 MX messages will coexist until 2025. Originators can send most payment messages in either format.
April 2023. All payment messages must use the ISO 20022 MX format starting in April 2023.
April 2024. All payment messages must use the ISO 20022 MX format starting in April 2024.
Fedwire Funds

March 2025. All payment messages must use the ISO 20022 MX format starting in March 2025.

SWIFT MT message transition

SWIFT MT messages can no longer keep up with financial industry and business requirements. ISO 20022 MX messages will replace SWIFT MT messages starting in 2023. Some of the message types in the initial transition include the following:

Message type SWIFT MT ISO 20022 MX
Payment initiation MT 101 series pain.001
Payment clearing and settlement MT 103, 200, 202, 202 COV, and 203 series pacs.008, pacs.009, and pacs.009 COV
Cash management MT 900/910 series camt.054
Cash management MT 940/950 series camt.053

What we are doing to prepare

We are a founding member of SWIFT’s Payments Market Practice Group (PMPG). We’re also an active participant in key working groups that are shaping the transition, including HVPS+, CBPR+, IP+, and various technical user groups. We’re participating in the pilot testing program for SWIFT Transaction Manager and have started community testing with other banks.

To help ensure we’re well-prepared to support our customers, we plan to transition from MT to MX messages in phases.

Message type
Transition plan

Payment messages customers send to us

Starting in March 2023, customers can send most payment messages to us in either MT or MX format.

Exceptions. We can only accept the following messages in MT format for now:

  • Request for transfer (MT101). Customers should not send pain.001 MX messages to us.
  • Financial markets direct debit (MT204). Customers should not send pacs.010 MX messages to us.

Payment messages we send to other financial institutions through SWIFT

  • Until late 2023, we’ll send payment messages in MT format.
  • In late 2023, we will begin to send payment messages in MX format. All outgoing payments through SWIFT will fully transition to MX in 2025.

Statement and advice messages we send to customers

  • Until late 2023, we’ll send most statement and advice messages in MT format through SWIFT FIN.
  • We’ll continue to support statement and advice messages in MT format until November 2025.
  • Starting in late 2023, we will offer customers the option to receive statement and advice messages in MX format through SWIFT FIN+.


  • Cash management messages sent through FileAct transmission. If customers currently receive these messages in MX format, they will continue to receive them in MX format. 
  • Account reporting/servicing requests. We will not support the MX camt.060 format in 2023. Customers should continue to use the MT 920 format.

We encourage customers to start planning now so they’re ready to send MX messages when the payment systems they use complete their transition to the new format.

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