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ISO 20022 in bytes for payments: Swift accepts community request to begin ISO 20022 migration in March 2023

ISO 20022 in bytes for payments: Swift accepts community request to begin ISO 20022 migration in March 2023

9 November 2022 | 7 min read

On 20 October 2022, the ECB shared its decision delaying the ISO 20022 migration of the Eurosystem by four months. In light of this announcement and in line with our earlier scenario planning, Swift committed to further analyse and validate impacts on the timeline for CBPR+ with a view to maintaining operational and business continuity across the global financial system.

An overwhelming majority of our global community has requested that we align the start of the global ISO 20022 migration for CBPR+ with the ECB’s updated timetable to ease implementation. In response, we have taken a decision to accommodate this request and we will begin the ISO 20022/MT coexistence period for all users on 20 March 2023.

See the latest update in full.

Customer readiness following the revised ISO 20022 activation timeline

  • Continue readiness preparations and testing activities – Swift strongly advises institutions that have yet to complete basic readiness activities to act now and start testing as soon as possible, well in time for the revised March 2023 deadline. Full preparation details and support can be found on our Ensuring ISO 20022 Readiness page.
  • Plan decoupling of domestic and cross-border migrations – The start date of the CBPR+ migration in March 2023 is definitive. Institutions are advised to prepare for the start of coexistence independently of any domestic ISO 20022 migration projects during the same period.
  • Consider CBPR+ early adoption – Institutions may already begin to adopt and exchange ISO 20022 messages in live, on an opt-in basis, ahead of March 2023. For everything you’ll need to prepare, please check the CBPR+ Early Adoption Checklist.

Rich Data Access: The challenge of data truncation

One of the key challenges to be managed during coexistence is data truncation. The volume of truncated transactions is expected to be low during the first months of coexistence, as per the PMPG recommendation to avoid the origination of rich data elements for cross-border payments until November 2023.

The CBPR+ group in July 2022 published the Data Integrity Market Practice Guidance paper. This explains how banks can identify truncation and exchange truncated or missing data, where required, through a bilateral Request For Information (RFI) process. To support this market practice and further streamline the RFI process, Swift has developed a universal ‘Rich Data Access’ feature, as an enhancement to the Case Resolution service leveraging the Tracker Graphical User Interface (GUI). This service has been available in pilot, free of charge, since 23 October 2022, and will be live from 20 November 2022.

For more information, please see the summary slides published on and the Feature Overview document published in our Knowledge Centre.

FINplus: Transaction management capabilities for the enhanced Swift platform available for testing

Following the FINplus pilot current and pilot future services, we activated the rejection of messages containing empty tags in the payload on the FINplus live service during the maintenance window of 15-16 October 2022. This rule applies to both payments and securities messages.

For more information, please see the FINplus Service Description.

Because of the new start date for CBPR+ coexistence, only securities-related changes will take place on the FINplus live service during the Swift maintenance window of 19 and 20 November 2022.

For more information, please see Knowledge Base article 5025675.

Transaction management capabilities for the enhanced Swift platform became available for testing on 26 September 2022. Subsequently, all eligible traffic on the FINplus pilot future service is being processed through this new capability (transaction copy details can be consulted in the Tracker GUI). Traffic on the FINplus pilot current service continues to be delivered direct to the recipient, without this transaction management processing.

For more information, please see the transaction management page on MySwift.

RMA: Central activation date for bootstrapped RMA records aligned with the new start date of CBPR+ coexistence

We’ve decided to align the central activation date for bootstrapped RMA records with the new start date of CBPR+ coexistence. This realignment of the central activation date will have no impact on the behaviour of RMA and will be performed before 20 November 2022.

For more information, see Knowledge Base article 5025752.

The readiness requirement for all participants to prepare their FINplus RMA setup prior to general go-live remains the same. Participants who had already imported bootstrapped records before are free – but not obliged – to generate and import a new distribution file if they want to re-synchronise the activation date of the bootstrapped RMA records.

For more information on the readiness requirements for RMA, see the Relationship Management Portal Getting Started document.

In-Flow Translation: Further e-order due in December 2022

In-flow translation is activated by default for all new or existing participants on the various FINplus services and covers all eligible messages. Participants can request the deactivation of in-flow translation for part or all of their BIC8s in each FINplus service through a dedicated e-order form.

We plan to deliver another e-order in December 2022 that allows participants to deactivate/reactivate in-flow translation based on the following criteria: service (FINplus live / pilot current / pilot future), BIC8 and request type.

FCC: Ensure your systems are ready to deal with ISO 20022 messages


It’s vital to review your compliance processes and ensure your systems are ready to deal with ISO 20022 messages from the start of coexistence. If you’re a user of Swift’s hosted screening or fraud solutions, namely Sanctions/Transaction Screening (SSS/TSS) or Payment Controls (PCS), please read the below.

All customers of PCS and TSS will automatically be provisioned for ISO 20022 flows, both for CBPR+ and market infrastructure related flows in line with the respective pilot and live dates. Please note however that you must take action and review your PCS and TSS configurations to ensure you have defined rules to screen ISO 20022 messages:

  • For PCS, ensure the message type selection in the configuration of your existing rules applies to ISO 20022 messages.
  • TSS will always screen ISO 20022 CBPR+ messages. All customers of TSS must therefore create a rule to screen incoming ISO 20022 messages, even if they base their processing on the embedded MT part of multi-format MX messages.
  • Remaining SSS customers who have not yet migrated to TSS can only screen CBPR+ messages – and with limitations. Other ISO 20022 flows (market infrastructures) will not be supported in SSS. We encourage these customers to migrate to TSS as soon as possible.

For more information on how to configure your TSS and PCS applications, please see the TSS Support Page and PCS Support Page. For the full list of supported ISO 20022 services, please see Knowledge Base article 5025241.

We also run customer webinars to help prepare for the screening of ISO 20022 messages in TSS and SSS. To register, please visit the TSS Support Page.

Standards: Progress on the definition of additional Usage Guidelines for November 2023

While our community focuses on getting ready for the CBPR+ 2.1 collection of messages, the workgroup has made good progress on the definition of eight additional Usage Guidelines for implementation in November 2023. The additional messages to be covered relate to customer direct debits, cheques and notifications of cancellation. The charges messages are not part of that release because the ISO 20022 base messages first need a revision (SR 2023). Publication of the 2023 Usage Guidelines is planned for mid-December (at the latest).

For more details, please see the MT/MX Equivalence Tables published on MyStandards.


MIs: Many RTGS systems have adopted or plan to adopt ISO 20022

An estimated 40% of Swift’s cross-border payments have a domestic leg: this emphasises the importance of ISO 20022 adoption by domestic markets too. Many Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) systems have adopted or plan to adopt the standard over the next three years.

Some RTGSs have recently completed their journey:

  • August 2022: Bank of Thailand (BAHTNET) and Monetary Authority of Singapore (MEPS+)
  • September 2022: Bank Negara Malaysia (RENTAS) and South African Reserve Bank (SAMOS)

EBA Clearing (EURO1) have revised their go-live date in line with the ECB decision. Australian Payment Network (RITS), Payment New Zealand (ESAS) and Canadian Payments Association (LYNX) have also confirmed their realignment with the revised CBPR+ timelines.