ISO 20022

SWIFT MT to MX Migration; Are You Ready for the New ISO 20022 Standard?

12 April 2021
2 min read

The imminent migration to the new ISO 20022 standard will have a far-reaching impact on the payments world, as it promotes unification of existing and entrenched standards across many existing financial role players.

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Pressure to conform will in part be carrot; more efficient solutions, and in part stick; regulatory deadlines.

Regulatory pressures: From November 2022, the SWIFT network will not permit any new projects using the older MT standard, with support provided to existing solutions for a limited period. From November 2025, SWIFT will not permit any solutions running the older MT standard. This means all current MT solutions must be migrated to ISO 20022 by no later than November 2025 to account for the required industry testing.

More efficient solutions: Increase straight-through-processing in domestic and cross-border payments through improved quality and richness of data, less intervention in payment processes due to structured and meaningful data, and the ability to innovate using a universal standard.

This strategic change will not only have an impact on the existing systems, but also on the employees of the financial institutions and by inference, their customers. Here is where the biggest risks lie; if the ISO 20022 migration is not treated as a transformational full-scale payment modernisation project, customers might be negatively impacted with a real loss of income as a result.

Sybrin firmly believes that irrespective of your implementation approach, you need to follow a holistic and practical plan. Even if you take small tactical steps, it must be in the direction of your overall holistic plan.

The combination of such signing mandates and payment signing rules can be very complex to manage, and in some cases, they are still paper-based and manually driven processes.

  1. Analysis of the existing 'as-is' payment landscape:

    An in-depth analysis must be performed on the existing payment processes/messages, the systems involved, and the data structures used for these payments.

  2. Design of the ideal 'to-be' payments landscape:

    The ideal ISO 20022 payments landscape must be envisioned - while using reference industry payment processes and data models, a 'to-be' landscape should be documented.

  3. Implementation Plans:

    Using the as-is analysis as well as the design of the ideal 'to-be' landscape as input, the following plans need to be documented:

    A System Consolidation Plan.

    A Payment Process Transformation Plan.

    A People Change Management Plan.

    A Plan to establish a Payment Centre of Excellence.

Sybrin Can Assist in Your ISO 20022 Journey.

Payment Experience is in Our DNA.

Sybrin was established in 1991 and has three decades of extensive experience in implementing payment solutions, the statistics speak for themselves:


Countries Worldwide.


Completed payment projects.


Reusable solutions.




Satisfied customers, with a 99% retention rate.


Million payments processed per month on our solutions.

More specific to ISO 20022:

Sybrin has successfully completed ISO 20022 migrations for central banks, impacting the ISO20022 direction of those countries on a macro level.

Sybrin is in the process of migrating various banks to ISO 20022, we have used our technology and experience of large-scale projects to support their initiatives.

Sybrin's ISO 20022 project successes are largely due to a well-defined holistic plan and implementing according to a combination of the following:

Tactical, 'quick and simple' approach where SWIFT MT messages are translated to SWIFT MX (ISO 20022) using libraries offered by the Sybrin Payments Hub

An incoming pacs.008 (ISO 20022 message) is translated by the Sybrin Payments Hub to an MT103 message (current/old SWIFT standard), and then sent to the existing SWIFT system in the bank.

The existing SWIFT system responds with an outgoing MT103, which is translated by the Sybrin Payments Hub to pacs.008 (ISO 20022) and sent to the outside world for processing.

Complete replacement/rebuild where systems are replaced with ISO 20022 compliant systems. This approach is technically the most robust, secure, and complete, but also unfortunately the most challenging to deliver in time. What makes this approach even more stressful, is the impact the change has on its people. Typically, these projects span multiple years, using multiple teams with sizeable budgets.

Hybrid approach: Financial institutions have realised that a 'rip and replace' approach is rarely feasible due to budget constraints and the immense human change impact. In most cases, a hybrid approach is required that combines the best of the tactical- and complete replacement approach. In this approach, our Payments Hub will not only do the simple translation as previously mentioned, but also enrich the payment data and keep that data available in the ISO 20022 format for the duration of the payment. This allows existing systems to use the data richness of ISO 20022 with minimal change.

Sybrin Payments Hub.

Modern and Industry-Compliant Technology.

Built-In SWIFT-Compliant Toolkit.


Using self-developed and third-party libraries, our Payments Hub enables parsing, building, and validating all SWIFT MT messages; MT1XX, MT2XX, MT3XX, MT4XX, MT5XX, MT6XX, MT7XX, MT8XX, and MT9XX. This satisfies the SWIFT criteria for network validation, rule validation, market validation, and more.

SWIFT MT/MX translation.

Using industry accepted libraries, the Sybrin Payments Hub enables migration of your payment system to ISO 20022 Cross-Border Payments and Reporting (CBPR+) without the pain and cost of changing your core banking. The SWIFT MT ISO 20022 Translator library will map, validate, and translate MT101, MT103, MT103STP, MT103 return, MT200, MT202, MT202 return, MT202COV, MT900, MT910, MT940, MT941, MT942, MT950, pacs.004, pacs.008, pain.001, pain.009, camt.052, camt.053, and camt.054.

SWIFT ISO 20022.

Using industry accepted libraries, Payments Hub enables parsing, building, and validating all SWIFT ISO 20022 (MX) messages; acmt, auth, camt, colr, pacs, pain, reda, seev, semt, sese and setr. The library exposes well-defined validation messages that can be forwarded to your online application. This enables rapid implementation of ISO 20022 payment processes.

Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

This industry accepted library supports all SEPA CT, SEPA DD, and SEPA instant messages, allowing our Payments Hub to utilise ready-to-use methods for all R-Transactions; Reverse, Recall, Request for Cancelation, and Return Messages.

Visit Payments Hub product for more information, or Contact us to find out how Sybrin can assist you with your ISO 20022 migration journey. For more information on this topic, as well as its origins, read our next blog