Standards Authority


The Standards Authority coordinates the standardisation activities of the UK’s financial services on behalf of participants, the wider payments industry and other relevant stakeholders.

It is responsible for, and has authority over, all aspects of standards development, maintenance and modification across the Pay.UK payments ecosystem.  The Authority operates according to the Standards Framework which establishes methods of working, decision-making and processes to develop and maintain standards.

The Authority supports the development and delivery of standards according to the principles and procedures set out by Pay.UK, and that deliver benefits to the payments industry. These key principles ensure that standards are:

  1. Consistent, aligned and interoperable globally, noting the importance of:
  • Reuse by adopting and leveraging existing global standards
  • Extensible by establishing flexibility and encouraging adoption
  • Scalable ensuring the provision of a stable environment for all participants
  1. Open, promote competition and innovation, and avoid dependencies
  2. Robust and increase resiliency and data integrity across the ecosystem
  3. Act as an enabler for the market to deliver end-user benefits through competition and innovation

The Pay.UK Standards Authority is responsible for the definition of standards and rules across Pay.UK including standards for the New Payments Architecture (NPA) programme.  These include, but are not limited to, ISO 20022 and identifier standards such as the Legal Entity Identifier (ISO 17442) and the International Bank Identifier Code (ISO 13616).

What Are Standards?

We rely on standards every day for the efficient and resilient operation of the payments industry. As payments infrastructure is a network, standards are vital to ensuring that users of that network can interoperate and communicate in a common and understandable way.

Standards are an agreed set of rules that must be adhered to by participants in an industry within which they wish to interoperate. This combination of technical and business documentation establishes the necessary framework to make payments flow. Composed of detailed specifications, standards establish a common way of working both technically and operationally. Financial services standards range from messaging standards (ISO 20022, ISO 8583 and Standard 18) to identifier standards (IBANs, Sort Codes and Issuer Identification Numbers (IINs)).

Industry stakeholders such as financial institutions, corporates, third party Payment Service Providers (PSPs), governments and central banks all play an important role in supporting the continued development and implementation of standards. To find out more about some of these in the links below.

Why Do Standards Matter?

Robustness, resiliency, openness and interoperability are the key features of the payments industry that would not be possible without standards.  When end users make a payment, they expect that it will be sent and received irrespective of which bank they use, with all of the relevant information passed on. Industry standards establish agreed methods for participants and end users of payment services and payments infrastructure to interact in a safe, dependable and predictable manner.  Standards also provide a level playing field that can encourage interoperability and competition.

Standards Source

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

Our Team

Our team is led by the Head of the Standards Authority 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 international engagement and policy activities include proactively supporting and influencing UK and European-level standardisation activities. This includes working with organisations such as the European Retail Payments Board, 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 and its evaluations groups.

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