Standards overview

Put simply, standards enable participation in our services, and help maintain shared systems that are safe and secure, and are the foundation for creating innovative overlay services that deliver benefits for all.

They ensure the robustness and resilience of the UK’s payments infrastructure and mean that salaries are paid, bills are collected, and online and mobile banking payments work seamlessly and efficiently, each and every day.

Standards are also key in enabling the market’s implementation of new and innovative overlay services such as Request to Pay and Confirmation of Payee, the latter of which is already having a positive impact in tackling Authorized Push Payment fraud.

All payment systems around the world use standards to define the data necessary to ensure that payments flow securely, but this data can also provide a far greater range of benefits than simply driving a robust clearing and settlement system.

Currently, the standards that power the various UK interbank payments are all different, perhaps not surprising given that some of these formats were developed in an era before the internet, when data was limited by physical media (e.g. magnetic tapes).

Today, in the internet and cloud technology age, these constraints can impact on innovation and limit what end users can know about their payment.

They also inhibit technical interoperability between payment systems in the UK, and those in other parts of the world, with the case to adopt a common standard seen as an enabler by the payments industry and by regulators.

In the UK, together with the Bank of England (as operator of CHAPS), we have been working towards the goal of a common, data rich standard for interbank payments since 2018. We are therefore at the dawn of a new, once-in-a-generation opportunity for interbank payments in the UK, which will herald a common, uniform, data-rich environment for retail and high value payments.