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ISO 20022 Payment SEG Approves Standalone Remittance Messages Submitted by IFX Forum

The Interactive Financial eXchange (IFX; http://www.ifxforum.org) Forum, which took the lead role in a collaborative effort to develop a new international standard for standalone electronic remittance messages, today announced that the ISO 20022 Payment Standard Evaluation Group has approved this submission, and the messages will soon be published as part of the ISO 20022 standard.

The IFX Forum, a submitting organization to ISO 20022, is an international non-profit industry association whose mission is to develop and promote the adoption of its open, interoperable standard for financial data exchange. Remittance information is exchanged between a buyer and a seller to "explain" a payment. ISO 20022 is an international standard for financial services messaging, with a repository containing descriptions of messages and business processes.

"As an active member of the IFX Forum, NACHA collaborated with the other IFX members to help develop the ISO 20022 Standalone Remittance messages," said Jan Estep, NACHA President and CEO. "NACHA’s XML-ACH Remittance Information Opt-in (XML-ACH) program specifically supports the use of these messages in the ACH Network today. The inclusion of the ISO 20022 international remittance information standard is a great example of how the ACH Network continues to support innovation, especially in critical areas of business need where the Network can securely facilitate the rich exchange of payments plus information between trading partners."

"It is very rewarding to see several hundred man-hours of collaboration bear full fruit in the adoption of the standalone remittance material by ISO 20022," said IFX President Richard P. Urban. "The new messages provide a standard approach for electronic remittance delivery, and their use will eliminate issues in reconciling electronic payments and further enable straight-through-processing of payments. Because these standalone messages can be used both within and outside of payment delivery channels, we believe adoption can advance quickly. Industry can begin to adopt these messages for BTB exchanges knowing that the financial institutions will be referencing the exact same standard."

Through its Liaison and Interoperability Working Group, the IFX Forum spearheaded the effort to develop the ISO 20022 standalone remittance standard, based on its leadership in this area. The Forum previously led the ISTH initiative that resulted in the first ISO 20022 payment initiation messages ever built and it was the first organization to incorporate these in its own standard; Forum leaders are prominent in the Remittance Coalition set up by the U.S. Federal Reserve; and the Forum actively engages with other international standards organizations in the financial services sector. IFX Forum members NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association, Wells Fargo and Bank of America Merrill Lynch were key contributors to the effort. The Forum's members were joined in the submission by Open Applications Group (OAGi).


Electronic payments can improve speed, convenience, security, and cost-effectiveness, as well as delivering environmental benefits. However, though electronic payments by consumers have risen dramatically, the business sector has lagged behind, with checks still the preferred method for paying invoices. This is due to difficulties in exchanging accurate remittance data: a lack of cross-industry standards, different requirements in different industries, and a plethora of competing platforms and formats, etc. Having a single, international standalone remittance standard suitable for use by businesses of any size ameliorates these problems, and benefits all parties involved in the payments process.

Creating and submitting the remittance material was an iterative process that took place over a number of months. A business justification was first developed; when that was accepted by ISO 20022, the actual messages were written. The message development process leveraged the existing credit and direct debit initiation models and message definition report published by ISO 20022. The final submission voted on and adopted by ISO 20022 included a Business Process Diagram (activity diagram), a Message Flow Diagram (sequence diagram), and examples of valid XML instances of each candidate message and other descriptive material, as well as the two new remittance messages themselves.

The IFX Forum's membership includes organizations from 14 countries on five continents. In addition to developing IFX, the Forum actively engages in international standards activity, including longtime liaison efforts with ISO and contributions to ISO 20022, a leadership role in the Remittance Coalition set up by the U.S. Federal Reserve, and Memoranda of Understanding with ASC X9, BIAN and EPASOrg.

The Forum welcomes additional members to join in all its activities. More information can be found at http://www.ifxforum.org/join/. The Forum also hosts a free IFX Discussion Forum, where knowledgeable members and other subject matter experts will answer IFX-related questions from the public.

About the IFX Forum

Founded in 1997, the Interactive Financial eXchange (IFX) Forum is an international not-for-profit industry association whose mission is to develop and promote the adoption of its open, interoperable standard for financial data exchange, suitable for use by all sectors of the financial services industry. Forum membership is open to organizations interested in contributing to the development of open financial standards. Forum members include financial institutions, hardware, software and service firms, and related non-profit groups.

The IFX Forum is currently organized into the following Working Groups: ATM/POS; Branch Banking Services; Business Banking; Card Management & Servicing; Liaison & Interoperability; Loans; and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). IFX Forum Working Groups, in concert with an Architecture Committee to coordinate their efforts, develop open Internet-compatible messages for all sectors of the financial services industry. To learn more about the IFX standard or the benefits of IFX Forum membership, please visit www.IFXForum.org.

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