This migration to ISO 20022’s rich-data format is a major milestone resulting from successful collaboration.
Rich data is fast becoming the standard language for global payments, with a number of markets having already adopted ISO 20022 for high-value and instant payments. And major economies aren’t far behind, with many set to complete their migrations before 2025.
Payments market infrastructures (PMIs) are an important part of this transition, and their communities are a catalyst for adoption. Our dedicated adoption programme for MIs supports high-value PMIs on their journey, with real-time gross settlement systems (RTGSs) adopting ISO 20022 for high-value payments plus (HVPS+) under the programme. It runs alongside our ISO 20022 programme for cross-border payments and reporting (CBPR+), which is actively helping to support banks and vendors in their readiness for and adoption of the standard.
Migration to a rich-data format
The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) operates, regulates, supervises, and oversees the country’s national payment system, and is also responsible for policymaking. It acts as an intermediary, or settlement agent, enabling financial institutions to make payments to each other.
The SARB owns and operates the RTGS system for the country: the South African Multiple Option Settlement (SAMOS) system. On 17 September SAMOS completed its migration to ISO 20022 rich-data messaging. This represents a huge step towards modernising the country’s payments ecosystem, with the new global messaging standard being adopted by its domestic RTGS system, participant banks and other financial MIs. In simple terms, this means the South African financial community is now live with ISO 20022.
SARB: Addressing customer challenges
According to SARB, the migration to ISO 20022 for payments in South Africa has been driven by the rapid development of disruptive technology, evolving cyber-threats, increased regulation and demands from customers for faster and more cost-effective payments.
For financial institutions, adopting ISO 20022 enables them to address these challenges and realise multiple benefits. These include greater operational efficiency; better transparency and visibility for improved compliance; better data analytics; and end-to-end interoperability. All of these make for enhanced customer experiences.
Leading the way in Africa
This successful migration pays testament to the effectiveness of collaboration within our industry.
Rhona Badenhorst, Senior Manager – Domestic Settlement Services, SARB, stated, “We are very proud and appreciative of the hard work, resilience, support, and commitment of all staff members in the SARB as well as our external stakeholders involved in the project.”
“From a domestic perspective, this represents a significant accomplishment for the South African financial community, as one of a few countries globally, and the first on the African continent, to migrate to ISO 20022 type messaging in the RTGS system.”
From a domestic perspective, this represents a significant accomplishment for the South African financial community, as one of a few countries globally, and the first on the African continent, to migrate to ISO 20022 type messaging in the RTGS system.
A catalyst for innovation
The migration brings significant changes, and the adoption of these will present further opportunities for innovation and lay the ground for future projects such as the introduction of the Rapid Payments Programme (RPP), which is expected to be launched in 2023.
The RPP will be launched under the brand, ‘Payshap’, an industry-led initiative under the leadership of BankservAfrica and the Payments Association of South Africa (PASA). Its launch is expected to offer a cost-effective instant-payments service across banks; a proxy service to embed user banking details; a request to pay service; and support for several known retail payment use cases.
SARB is also collaborating on a number of projects with the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group to adapt to market changes and welcome innovation in the fintech sector.
Lighting the way for future implementations
This migration project serves as a blueprint for further successful adoptions of ISO 20022 by MIs and their participants: “It can be used as a calling card when talking to other countries to say, we’ve done this and so can you,” said Denis Kruger, Business Development, Sub-Sahara Africa at Swift. “This is helping our community, and we can help you with your implementation now too.”
For more information on Swift’s MI and CBPR+ ISO 20022 programmes please visit our ISO 20022 hub.