ISO 20022

The global standard for payments messaging

What is ISO 20022?

ISO 20022 XML (eXtensible Mark-up Language) is an established global standard for payments messaging.  Most payments to and from the European Union are already based on this standard.

Over time, ISO 20022 XML will be used by all Payment Service Providers (PSP) in the U.K. for all payment products starting with CHAPS and International (Currency) payments. 

It will deliver a common language and model for exchanging payments data across the globe, provide richer and higher quality information than current messaging standards and better enable future innovation and development in the UK payments ecosystem.

Depending on the payment types and payments data services you use, it also means there may be a need to make changes to the way you send/ receive and process domestic and international payments which in turn could bring future benefits.

Upcoming webinar

Join NatWest Group on the 7th December at 10am for our 2nd in the series of panel led conversations which will be a recap of our ISO 20022 XML journey so far. 

We'll cover how ISO 20022 XML could benefit your business, what you should be doing to prepare and there will be another opportunity to ask questions.

Previous Webinars

NatWest Group recently hosted a panel led conversation where we explained more about ISO 20022, the benefits it could bring, why you should care about it and an opportunity to ask the panel questions.

We were joined by guest speakers from the Bank of England and SWIFT, as well as payment experts from NatWest.

Please listen back to the recording by following the link below. Also, we have provided responses to some of the questions and answers from the webinar which you can read by downloading the PDF also found below.

The benefits of ISO 20022

The main benefit of ISO 20022 for customers is a more efficient and compliant payments experience as well as harmonising with international payments systems.


  • for different payment types
  • in bank formats (facilitate multi-bank consistency)
  • across global entities

Bank agnostic

  • no single point of failure
  • reduced counterparty risk
  • easier to manage banking relationships

Modern, flexible tech

  • simpler translation, faster troubleshooting and maintenance
  • choice of connectivity
  • increased support by major Treasury Management Systems (TMS) like SAP and Oracle and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software

Higher automation and STP

  • automated G/L posting and cash application
  • reduction of manual entries and payments and fx

Financial gains and savings

  • reduced tech support needed
  • focus on value added treasury activities

Enriched data

  • improved cash visibility and forecasting
  • facilities business intelligence 

Ulster Bank and ISO 20022

Ulster Bank will start supporting the new ISO 20022 XML messaging for UK formats in the inter-banking space from the published industry migration dates. We will, however, gradually introduce changes to our customer experience depending on the payment type and channel used.

Whilst we work to minimise disruptions to our customers’ operations, a variety of changes are expected to occur, especially for those customers who have a direct link to our payments infrastructure; other customers may notice fewer changes and will see less impact, and be required to make fewer changes to their day-to-day operations.

Our ISO 20022 migration strategy is being determined by the approach taken by the Scheme operators and regulators. Ulster Bank is updating its systems to be able to support all the ISO 20022 requirements and are currently finalising the details and timings of the anticipated transition phases.

Most banks have already started their journey to migrate the UK payment offering to ISO 20022, something that will not happen overnight but take years to fully implement.

Keeping up to date with the latest developments and understanding the key points can be difficult and for this reason we will producing a series of ISO 20022 themed brochures to aid understanding of what this means for our customers.

Why corporates should care about ISO 20022

NatWest Group Payments and Delivery teams discuss;


  • The implications of ISO 20022 beyond payment
  • Engaging internal and external stakeholders to help define your firm's financial, operational and customer data strategies
  • Approaching ISO 20022 as a compliance programme but also as an opportunity to structure and monetise data which could potentially create value for your clients and business

Download the latest ISO 20022 brochure

For corporates

Find out more about what ISO 20022 means for corporate customers;

  • Latest developments and scheme updates including Bank of England CHAPS, Euro payments and SWIFT
  • Access to SWIFT MyStandards

For financial institutions 

Find out more about what ISO 20022 means for financial institutions;

  • Latest developments and scheme updates including Bank of England CHAPS, Target2 and SWIFT
  • Access to SWIFT MyStandards 
  • Cross border payments translation portal

Helping you prepare for ISO 20022

Please download the Readiness Checklist to help you to understand how the ISO 20022 changes will impact your organisation. It should help you decide what you need to do to make sure you’re prepared for November 2022.

Questions you may have

Impacts of ISO 20022

Get in touch

If you’re an existing client of the bank, it's best to get in touch with your Relationship Manager directly.

If you’re new to the bank or prefer to register your interest, you can email your details using the link below and we’ll be in touch.