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Citi smashes through 1m payments using ISO 20022 XML messaging

Citi Transaction Services is now consistently processing more than one million payment transactions per month using the ISO 20022 XML messaging format, which is slated as the new global standard for cash management thanks to its backing by SWIFT and its mandated usage for the single euro payments area (SEPA) schemas.

The new global ISO 20022 XML standard continues to evolve through industry-wide collaboration via the Common Global Implementation (CGI) workgroup, governed by SWIFT, and involving the bank owners of the collective. As other banks and payment processors settle on the standard in the treasury and financial supply chain the numbers using the messaging format can be expected to rise and rise.

According to Susan Meeks, who is responsible for global payments and banking services at Procter & Gamble: “P&G firmly believes that cost efficiencies and business process improvements are achieved through standardisation and partnership with vendors and providers. With respect to cash management, we are achieving this by consolidating all our transactional data flows on the ISO 20022 XML standard with Citi and our other CGI compliant banks.”

The ISO 20022 standard emerged from various initiatives focused on establishing a single common comprehensive electronic data exchange (EDI) model to enable globally consistent data exchange between corporations and their banks. The availability of ISO 20022 XML messaging eliminates the need for customisation and provides simplified business rules that allow corporations to easily integrate data with their banks as appropriate. As a result, corporations can achieve lower costs, lower maintenance cash management environments and enhanced straight through processing. There are still some residual issues surrounding national interpretations of the XML standard, particularly in regard to SEPA, but as the migration deadline of 1 Feb 2014 nears for this project these are expected to ease.

Hubert JP Jolly, global head of channel and enterprise services at Citi Transaction Services, is pleased to reach the monthly one million payments benchmark, although this is of course a fraction of the total payments volume the bank processes and there is still a long way to go before widespread XML adoption. Nevertheless, Jolly maintains that: “Reaching this milestone is testimony of the desire of corporate users to leverage a common EDI standard for data exchange with their banks. By enabling our connectivity solutions to support this new global EDI standard we are actively partnering with our clients and the industry to ensure global consistency, both with Citi and other CGI compliant banks.”

Citi currently has over 130 live clients, across 84 countries, now processing payment transactions using ISO 20022 XML. It supports ISO 20022 XML transactions both via its direct integration solution, CitiConnect, as well as via the file import function in its online banking platform, CitiDirect Online Banking.