More than 99.99% of all international banking transactions are done via SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) – the organisation that standardised the global message and transaction traffic of more than 10,000 banks. Because SWIFT is an international standard, the pending conversion of message formats represents a fundamental change. Now, it is the right time to prepare for the change to the future-proof format: After all, there will be no overlapping of the standards, and accordingly no transition phase.

SWIFT - Migration from MT to MX formats / ISO 20022

In 2007, SWIFT began the migration of MT message formats to the XML-based and thus future-proof MX formats according to the standard ISO 20022. The migration was originally planned for November 2017. In March 2015, the Eurosystem informed TARGET2-participants of the plans to migrate from TARGET2 to ISO 20022. Because a number of banking communities expressed concerns, however, the date was postponed in the summer of 2015. The migration to ISO 20022 should now be re-examined in the context of the strategic discussion of the Eurosystem.

The SEPA messages defined by the European Payments Council do not belong to the MX messages, since they are not the responsibility of SWIFT.

Scope of the migration

The migration from MT formats to MX formats is a technical migration, i.e. there are no functional changes in payment transaction messages, and the general payment transaction processes remain unchanged.

In the first step, only the contents of the MT messages will be copied to the MX messages. In the medium term, additional information will be added to the MX messages, where the information to be included and the deadlines have yet to be agreed.

The following messages are affected:


In the first step, the message types MT 940 and MT 950 (Customer Statement Message and Statement Message) are not affected, since these messages will be migrated later at the behest of the users.

The message types MT 900 and MT 910 will no longer be offered after the migration to MX formats. Customers who use these message types will be automatically migrated to the receipt of camt.054 Credit and Debit.

The following SWIFT system messages are also affected:

  • MT 096
  • MT 097
  • MT 012
  • MT 019

Migration approach

The migration will take place as a big bang migration. This means that exclusively the old MT formats will be used up to the migration date and, after that date, exclusively the new MX formats will be used. This means there will be no overlapping of the standards. Furthermore, TARGET2 will not offer any options for conversion between the two.

Consequences of the migration for banks

There are two alternatives as to how the system migration could take place:

  1. Conversion of the MX formats into the old MT formats and then internal use of the MT formats:
    This requires relatively little effort. Service providers could be used for the conversion. The migration can be performed and undone at any time.
  2. Conversion of all systems with points of contact with TARGET2 to MX formats:
    In the short-term, this alternative involves a greater effort; however, it is the only feasible alternative in the medium and long term. The MX formats will be enriched with additional information in future, after which they will no longer be able to be converted.

Our range of services

We offer the following services in relation to SWIFT:

  • Support on analysis, requirements management, development, project management and implementation of your migration strategy.
  • Support with testing and test automation for the different XML formats

Would you like professional advice?
Our consultants will be glad to arrange a one-on-one consultation with you

via E-Mail: payments(at)it-economics.de
via Phone:+49 89 215 488 0-0