Harmony And Tempo: The Status Of Real-Time Payments

The harmonization of real-time payments (which should be less hyperbolically known as faster payments) under ISO 20022 picked up tempo from andante to allegro this year.


Real-time Payment Focus

In April, under the aegis of Payments UK, more than 50 global experts from interested countries and payment system operators met to discuss the ISO 20022 messages required for harmonization of real-time payments.

Following the meeting the Registration Management Group, or RMG, which is tasked to define the scope of Standard Evaluation Groups, or SEGs, created the Real-Time Payments Group to harmonize current ISO 20022 payment messages.

In August, the group produced a draft set of core payments messages, and invited industry stakeholders to comment on the proposals.

The goal of the group goes beyond helping countries with domestic implementation. It also aims to achieve interoperability between national systems. Interoperability will provide the basis for an eventual single set of standards for cross-border real-time payments.

As the draft proposals are being reviewed, the group has delivered a next set of ISO 20022 messages needed to support real-time payments. The Real-Time Payments Group will be meeting at this week’s Sibos conference in Singapore, and will very likely update the industry on its progress, according to Payments UK.

How does the status of real-time or faster payments look today? According to the August 2015 edition of the ISO 20022 News, there are currently 18 countries ‘live’, 12 countries that are “exploring/planning/building,” and an additional block of 17 countries that are “exploring” through a pan-eurozone initiative.

The uptake in Asia was discussed at a Sibos session on Monday, entitled, “How does ISO20022 enable innovation in the Asia Pacific?” Regarding real-time payments in the region, the alpha adopter is Australia, which is in the midst of an ongoing nationwide implementation launched in 2012 to enable “low value” fast payments.

According to the RMG, at that time, a group of senior Australian bankers supported by the Australian Payments Clearing Association, or APCA, presented a proposal to the Reserve Bank of Australia, which the Bank endorsed.

The group proposes a new payments infrastructure by January, 1 2017, with the ACPA coordinating the steps. The group is currently developing usage guidelines for payments clearing and settlement and payments initiation. It says it is still on track to meet its deadline.

Related Article:When Will Real-Time Clearing & Settlement Come?