Standards Authority


The International Standards and Services team coordinates the standardisation activities of the UK’s financial services on behalf of participants, the wider payments industry and other relevant stakeholders. Providing a centre of excellence on standards, their development and deployment, we lead the development of national and international standards for the payments industry. Our work ensures standardisation is driven by business needs, while looking to achieve optimal transparency and sufficient inclusivity.

The key principles of the International Standards and Services team’s standardisation work are:

  • Wherever appropriate and practical, to adopt international, European, or domestic standards, in that order, over proprietary ones;
  • The UK should seek to play an active role in developing new international and/or European standards that are relevant to the banking and payments industry, and where appropriate work with corporate representative bodies;
  • Standards should be designed to cover the complete end-to-end payment transaction chain, including customer initiation and notification/reconciliation, as well as identification and authentication;
  • Convergence between different standard organisations should be encouraged as part of a wider consolidation process;
  • Standard development must result in practical solutions that seek to minimise impact on the adopters, with due consideration given to legacy migration issues.

Our Team

We participate in international standardisation through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) located in Geneva, Switzerland. ISO’s standards are developed through Technical Committees and their designated subcommittees. One of ISO’s 200+ technical committees (TC68) is responsible for developing global financial industry standards. TC68 is the only fully dedicated ISO Technical Committee with its sole mission being the creation of financial industry standards. Since 1948, members of the financial services industry have collaborated under the ISO banner to develop technical standards to use on a global basis.

We manage the UK interface into ISO TC68 on behalf of the UK financial services industry. Additionally, we hold the Head of Delegation seat at ISO TC68 representing the UK and have seats on various committees and working groups at ISO level.

James Whittle, Director of International Standards and Services, convenes the ISO 20022 Registration Management Group (RMG) on behalf of the UK. The ISO 20022 RMG is made up of senior industry experts and is the highest registration body and approves business justifications for new messages or updates to existing messages. The RMG now manages standards evaluations groups in Payments, Securities, Trade Finance, Foreign Exchange and Card and Retail areas. We are also key facilitators of the ISO 20022 Real-Time Payments Group; an ad hoc group of the RMG which aims to build harmonisation around the use of ISO 20022 for real time payments.

Our international engagement and participation also includes proactive support, influence and sight of European level standardisation activities. This includes work with organisations such as the European Retail Payments Board, CEN, and the European Payments Council. Our participation has included work on FinTech, API standards for European regulations, and on SCT Inst.

What Are Standards?

Standards are an agreed set of rules that must be adhered to by members of or 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. These standards range from financial messaging standards; including ISO 20022, ISO 8583 and Standard 18; to identifier standards, such as IBANs, Sort Codes and Issuer Identification Numbers (IINs).

Industry stakeholders, such as Financial Institutions and Corporates; Third Party Payment Service Providers (PSPs); and Governments and Central Banks, all play important roles in supporting these standards and services. To find out more about some of these, please click on one of the links below.

Industry stakeholders, such as financial institutions and corporates; third party Payment Service Providers (PSPs); and governments and central banks, all play important roles in supporting these standards.

Why Do Standards Matter?

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

Interoperability is an essential feature of the payments industry that would not be possible without standards. When consumers make a payment they expect that it will be sent and received irrespective of the bank they use. 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 Source

The International Standards and Services 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.

There are a number of standards that we aim to publish through this interface including:

  • Faster Payments ISO 8583 to ISO 20022 mappings;
  • Bacs Standard 18 to ISO 20022 mappings;
  • Additional information on UK, European and global payment schemes.

If you have any feedback on the current site or suggestions for improvements, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us using the email address below.


Contact Us

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