News & insights / ISO 20022 – What’s In It For The Customer?

ISO 20022 – What’s In It For The Customer?

ISO 20022 is a game-changer for the payments industry, providing various customer values, including:

  • Richer data

  • Improved straight-through processing

  • Enhanced remittance information

  • Global interoperability

  • Future-proofing


Richer data

Including richer data in payment messages with ISO 20022 can streamline the payment process, reduce errors and exceptions, and improve payments’ overall efficiency and accuracy, significantly benefiting businesses and financial institutions.

For example, historically, if a business needed to make a payment to one of its suppliers, it might have sent a payment message with limited information, such as the amount and the beneficiary’s account number. This could result in errors, exceptions, and delays in the payment process if any of the information was incomplete or inaccurate.

With ISO 20022, the business can include more detailed and structured data in the payment message, such as the payment purpose, invoice number, and payment terms. This information can help ensure the payment is processed accurately and efficiently, reducing the risk of errors, exceptions, and delays.

Furthermore, richer data in payment messages can provide customers with several benefits, including more accurate and complete payments, improved reconciliation, better transparency and control, lower costs, and enhanced security.


Improved straight-through processing

With improved straight-through processing (STP) in ISO 20022 businesses can receive payments automatically without manual intervention. This means businesses can save time and money by reducing the need for manual processing, data entry, and reconciliation.

For example, by using structured data, such as payment purpose and invoice numbers, businesses can automatically match payments to the correct invoice and update customer accounts without manual data entry. This automated reconciliation can improve STP rates, reduce the risk of errors and delays, and lower exception rates, resulting in faster settlement times and better cash flow.

The use of improved STP can reduce operational costs, improve efficiency, and enhance the customer experience for both payers and payees in the payment process.


Enhanced remittance information

ISO 20022 payment messages can provide businesses with more detailed payment information, including payment terms, discounts, and taxes. This feature enables businesses to automate payment reconciliation and ensure accurate matching of payments to the correct invoice, reducing the risk of disputes and improving cash flow.

In addition, including detailed foreign exchange information in cross-border payments can help ensure that payments are accurately reconciled with the correct amount in the beneficiary’s local currency. This can help reduce the risk of disputes and improve cash flow for businesses operating in multiple currencies.

Furthermore, better communication between parties enabled by enhanced remittance information can help improve trust and reduce the risk of disputes. This can lead to more efficient and effective payment processes, improving customer experience.


Global interoperability

Future-proofing is one of the most significant advantages of ISO 20022. The flexibility and scalability of ISO 20022 help ensure that payment systems remain relevant and effective over time while allowing for customization and adaptation to meet changing business needs.

In addition, the global standard provides a common language and syntax for financial messages, making it interoperable and compatible with other systems and institutions, thus reducing the risk of obsolescence.

Furthermore, ISO 20022 is designed to support emerging technologies such as blockchain and DLT and future regulatory requirements, helping payment systems remain compliant and up-todate with evolving regulations and standards.

The future-proofing benefits of ISO 20022 can provide customers with a flexible and adaptable framework for payment systems that can evolve alongside changing customer demands, market conditions, and technological advancements.



ISO 20022 provides customers with various benefits that improve the payment process and enhance the customer experience. Its adoption enables the introduction of new products and facilitates the migration of existing payment flows to more efficient processes.

With its global interoperability and future-proofing benefits, ISO 20022 is poised to remain a relevant and effective standard in the payments industry for years to come. Optimizing the use of ISO 20022 can provide banks and payment service providers with a competitive edge. However, it is important to note that large banks are currently investing a significant amount of time and resources in managing the transition to bank-to-bank clearing. In the future, there will be a need for greater customer focus to remain as a player in the market, an area in which 421 is actively working on.


Author: Catharina Niesel, June 2023