Citi Transaction Services said that it is consistently processing more than one million payment transactions per month using the ISO 20022 extensible markup language (XML) messaging format, promoted as the new global standard for cash management helped by backing from SWIFT and its mandated usage for the single euro payments area (SEPA) scheme.
The new global standard continues to evolve through industry-wide collaboration via the Common Global Implementation (CGI) workgroup, governed by SWIFT, and involving the bank owners of the collective. Citi said that as other banks and payment processors settle on the standard in the treasury and financial supply chain the numbers using the messaging format will steadily increase.
According to Susan Meeks, who is responsible for global payments and banking services at consumer products group Procter & Gamble: “P&G firmly believes that cost efficiencies and business process improvements are achieved through standardisation and partnership with vendors and providers. With respect to cash management, we are achieving this by consolidating all our transactional data flows on the ISO 20022 XML standard with Citi and our other CGI compliant banks.”
The ISO 20022 standard emerged from various initiatives focused on establishing a single common comprehensive electronic data exchange (EDI) model to enable globally consistent data exchange between corporations and their banks. The availability of ISO 20022 XML messaging eliminates the need for customisation and provides simplified business rules that allow corporations to easily integrate data with their banks as appropriate. As a result, corporations can achieve lower costs, lower maintenance cash management environments and enhanced straight through processing. There are still some residual issues surrounding national interpretations of the XML standard, particularly in regard to SEPA, but as the migration deadline of 1 Feb 2014 nears for this project these are expected to ease.
“Reaching this milestone is testimony of the desire of corporate users to leverage a common electronic data interchange [EDI] standard for data exchange with their banks,” said Hubert Jolly, global head of channel and enterprise services at Citi Transaction Services, who nonetheless acknowledges that widespread XML adoption for payments is still some way off.
“By enabling our connectivity solutions to support this new global EDI standard we are actively partnering with our clients and the industry to ensure global consistency, both with Citi and other CGI compliant banks.”
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However, a London summit on the industry’s introduction of the technology cautions that testing and acceptance are still at an early stage and firms should proceed with caution.