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Interoperability and Standardization in Financial Services in the Digital Age

April 27, 2022
Payment and Settlement Systems Department
Bank of Japan


ISO 20022 is widely used as an international standard for the format of messages used to exchange data across financial services, including payment, securities settlement, and derivatives trading. It is characterized by (a) the adoption of a highly versatile and flexible message format, (b) a broad coverage of financial business processes that can be standardized, and (c) an open, accessible database on the web that registers the standardized messages. Due in part to these outstanding features, ISO 20022 has been introduced as an international standard to ensure interoperability in data exchange in many financial services around the world, including payment systems in major Western countries, since its establishment in 2004.

In the field of financial services, the recent progress of digitalization has led to changes in circumstances surrounding interoperability, including the unbundling of financial functions and the spreading of banking as a service, the diversification of features in financial products, the development of decentralized finance, and the trend toward cyber-physical systems.

In light of these changes, (a) active participation of new stakeholders and experts in standardization activities, (b) message format development focused on the functions of financial services, (c) model-oriented standardization activities, and (d) visualization and structuring of metadata will be key in order for ISO 20022 to continue to play a role in ensuring interoperability, which is desirable for financial services in the digital age.

ISO 20022, the main theme of this paper, is an international standard that also contributes to ensuring the interoperability of digital currencies, such as private digital money and central bank digital currency. The various know-how accumulated through ISO 20022 standardization activities will be useful in the standardization process, in which private payment service providers, central banks, and other related parties participate collaboratively.


This document is an English translation of the Japanese original published on March 30, 2022. Please contact the Payment and Settlement Systems Department in advance to request permission, when reproducing or copying the content of this report for commercial purposes. Please credit the source when reproducing or copying the content of this report.


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