Standards Authority

Setting standards – our role and the Standards Framework

Pay.UK is the authority that defines the obligations that need to be followed to keep payments flowing freely. Where these concern the data boundaries of payment services they are referred to as standards.

They enable participation in our services, and help maintain shared systems that are safe and secure in line with our strategic objectives. Most importantly they help ensure the robustness and resiliency of the UK’s payments infrastructure.

Pay.UK uses a standard to set the fixed data boundaries of our service (i.e. the data that can be exchanged between entities), including the mandatory data necessary to provide assurance on robustness and resiliency.

The Pay.UK Standards Authority is responsible for the definition of standards for Pay.UK’s services including standards for the New Payments Architecture (NPA) programme. These include, but are not limited to the ISO 20022 standard for financial transaction messages.

Standards Source

Standard source is an online portal where you can get access to some of our standards and the testing simulator.

The Standards Authority team has developed the Standards Source to act as an authoritative documentation source of technical standards in the UK payments market. This service is a library of standards that provides a structured, complete catalogue of all UK payments standards and beyond in both technical and business formats. This publication of existing and legacy standards is used as a resource by the industry for new message creation and technical mappings, facilitating a best in class payment infrastructure in the UK. A supplier neutral service and not sponsored by an individual firm or provider, Standards Source has been developed to achieve greater simplicity and efficiency for the industry.

The standard currently published through this Standards Source is:

  • Faster Payments ISO 8583 to ISO 20022 mappings

Over the coming year, we also aim to publish the below standards via Standards Source including:

  • Bacs Standard 18 to ISO 20022 mappings
  • The New Payment Architecture messages
  • Additional information on UK, European and global payment schemes

Standards Framework

To aid a consistent approach to the development of new and change of existing standards, we have created the Standards Framework.

It is a new collaborative way to involve stakeholders in the standards development and review processes.

It describes the governance, key principles, definitions and procedures for the development, modification and periodic review of standards within Pay.UK. It also establishes key standards and policy principles that shall be used whenever there is a decision of which standard to implement, ensuring that these continue to align with Pay.UK’s strategic objectives and its own design principles.

Pay.UK will be publishing relevant details of the Standards Framework during 2020 and plan to continue to refine and develop this approach.

Pay.UK will use the Standards Framework to help:

  • Mandate the fixed data boundary of payment services – including the technical [data] interface and data exchange format between participants and infrastructure providers of that payment service.
  • Set standards to specify the outcomes enabled by our payment clearing and settlement services (including infrastructure).
  • Set standards where there is a clear and demonstrable market need, this may include defining how the users of the standard will provide assurance of their adherence.
  • Enable attestation to and monitory adherence of the data boundaries of payment services.
  • Put in place controls to provide assurance and limit systemic risk
  • Facilitate collaboration to allow market participants to work together to define standards.

When doing so Pay.UK will consider the implications with respect to data protection and clearly define where it is acting as a data processor or controller.

Domestic and International standards engagement

Our external engagement and policy activities include proactively supporting and influencing UK and European-level standardisation activities.

We consult and take advice from forums including the Industry Standards Coordination Committee (ISCC), the Bank of England’s Standards Advisory Panel (SAP) and the new Community of Developers group to help inform on decisions and principles around Standards Development and Change. This is in conjunction with other Pay.UK advisory groups to ensure standards are implemented appropriately.

We work with organisations such as the European Retail Payments Board, UK Finance, CEN, the European Payments Council, and includes participation in standards work for Fintechs, API standards, SEPA and many more projects.

From a global perspective, we also hold key seats on ISO committees for TC68 and the ISO 20022 Registration Management Group (which we currently Chair) and its evaluations groups.

Our Team

Pay.UK’s team is led by Director of the Standards and is comprised of experts that cover engagement, policy, product development, framework management and technical architecture. The team is responsible for the development and maintenance of Pay.UK standards and for the advocacy of UK and international standards on a domestic and global basis.

Our development and framework management activities ensure the on-going development of standards within Pay.UK and the products it offers such as Standards Source and identifiers. It includes management of relationships with other payments operators and ensures that the Standards Framework is implemented consistently and adhered to. The team also engages with global financial market infrastructures to share lessons learned from other payment initiatives. We also undertake horizon scanning both domestically and globally to ensure that Pay.UK and the UK are at the forefront of any changes or innovations in the industry.

Our team of technical architects act as financial messaging authors that develop and maintain the messaging standard for Pay.UK. They also share their technical expertise on a domestic and international level through engagement with technical standards industry bodies and at a practical level through consulting services.

Contact Us

We value all industry engagement on areas of standardisation. Please reach out to us by emailing