ISO 20022 Migration for the Australian Payments System –
Responses and Options Paper – September 2019
1. Introduction

1.1 Background

In April 2019, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and the Australian Payments Council (APC) issued the first in a series of three consultation papers with the objective of assisting the industry reach consensus regarding the adoption of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 20022 messaging standards in the Australian payments system. The first in the series, the Issues Paper, set out a number of key strategic issues and posed related questions to seek industry feedback. This second, the Responses and Options Paper, provides a summary of the responses received through the initial consultation and canvasses some potential implementation options for industry participants to consider. A second round of feedback is sought in response to the potential options outlined in this paper. The third, the Conclusions Paper, is expected to be published in the first half of 2020, and will present final conclusions from the consultation, including the agreed scope, governance, migration strategy, timetable and implementation approach.

The rest of this section provides an overview of the submissions received in response to the Issues Paper; subsequent sections provide more detail on views provided in the consultation on specific topics. Section 2 discusses the scope of the project, mainly focusing on the High Value Clearing System (HVCS). Section 3 covers how messages used in the HVCS could potentially be enhanced using the ISO 20022 format. Section 4 discusses the project framework in relation to migration approach. Section 5 discusses project governance options. Section 6 outlines the next steps and how to respond to this paper.

1.2 Summary of submissions

A total of 31 responses were received following the publication of the Issues Paper.[1] Respondents represented a diverse range of payments system users, comprising about a third that are Reserve Bank Information and Transfer System (RITS) Members directly using the New Payments Platform (NPP) and RITS Fast Settlement Service (FSS), another third that are RITS Members not directly using NPP/FSS, and a little over a third made up of payments industry bodies, corporates, vendors and payment service providers (Figure 1). Around half of the respondents indicated they offered correspondent banking services, meaning they are also impacted by the cross-border ISO 20022 migration being managed by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT).

Figure 1
Figure 1: Respondents

Respondents were unanimous in acknowledging the need for certain parts of the Australian payments system to migrate to ISO 20022 messaging and around 70 per cent of respondents were confident that the migration could be completed by 2024.

Several key themes emerged through the responses:

  • Participants are looking for opportunities to consolidate the number of payments clearing systems currently being supported by the industry.
  • There is little or no support for the migration of cheque, direct entry (DE) or card clearings to ISO 20022. The general industry view is that cheques will soon be retired and NPP will most likely replace DE in the longer term.
  • Most respondents support maintaining a dedicated high value payments system, although some suggested that NPP infrastructure could potentially be used for the HVCS.
  • There is broad support for including all of the enhanced content items identified in the Issues Paper.
  • Standardisation of messages across similar systems is desired where possible, with strong support (of those responses that addressed the issue) for adopting the international High Value Payments Plus (HVPS+) and Cross-Border Payments and Reporting Plus (CBPR+) guidelines to the fullest extent possible.
  • There is a preference for incorporating a coexistence phase rather than a ‘big bang’ migration.
  • The migration should initially be on a like-for-like basis, followed by the compulsory adoption of enhanced ISO 20022 content.
  • Prioritisation against other initiatives is the most significant challenge institutions are likely to face when planning for this migration, both in terms of likelihood and consequence.
  • The project governance model adopted for the NPP project was widely cited as a successful approach, with broad consensus that the project be industry led.


Non-confidential submissions from respondents are available at Some submissions were provided confidentially and have not been published. The RBA also held bilateral meetings with many respondents to discuss their submissions. [1]