Nordic Payments Council Consults On Changes To Credit Transfer Rules

November 9, 2021
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The Nordic Payments Council (NPC) is consulting on proposed changes to its rulebooks, including levelling up its old ISO 20022 messaging format to the latest 2019 version. The changes are aimed at ensuring the payment schemes keep up with the evolution of the payment market, and follow the SEPA payment schemes as much as possible.

The Nordic Payments Council (NPC) is consulting on proposed changes to its rulebooks, including levelling up its old ISO 20022 messaging format to the latest 2019 version. The changes are aimed at ensuring the payment schemes keep up with the evolution of the payment market, and follow the SEPA payment schemes as much as possible.

The organisation, which manages the multiple Nordic payment schemes, has opened a public consultation on a series of changes to its 2023 Credit Transfer Rulebook and Instant Credit Transfer Rulebook. This follows requests submitted by stakeholders, banking communities and by NPC working groups, to revise the next version of the NPC rulebooks.

“This public consultation is held to ensure that the payment schemes reflect the needs and evolution of the payment market, NPC’s members and their customers,” the council said on the consultation site.

Among the proposed changes is the upgrade of the ISO 20022 messaging format from the current 2009 version to the latest 2019 version.

When the NPC developed the NPC Credit Transfer (NCT) and the NPC Instant Credit Transfer (NCT Inst) scheme in 2019 and 2020, they were based on the SEPA payment schemes rules, which included the 2009 version of the ISO 20022 XML-based messaging standard.

Since then, the European Payments Council (EPC) has found that the 2009 version of the standard is not suitable to support new payment market developments and has decided to migrate all its payment schemes to the 2019 version of the ISO message standard by November 2023.

The Nordic council now proposes to follow the EPC and migrate its credit transfer and instant credit transfer schemes to the 2019 version of the ISO 20022 standard “as it is suitable to support new payment features”.

The migration would take place in one run in November 2023, coinciding with the EPC’s migration date. However, the scheme would allow corporate customers to continue to use another ISO version to exchange payment transactions in an XML format with their payment services providers if they bilaterally agree so.

Considering the fact that Finland is part of the eurozone, it is likely that the country is already moving toward the adoption of the new ISO 20022 standard. The proposed rulebook changes will bring the other three Nordic countries in line with the scheme rules adopted by the EPC.

Other changes

All changes that the EPC introduced in its 2021 SEPA Credit Transfer Rulebook and suggested for the 2023 SCT rulebook are also included in the consultation documents, the NPC said.

“This is in line with NPC's vision to always align with EPC's SCT and SCT Inst scheme as much as possible,” the documents state.

As such, the Nordic organisation proposes allowing participants to link an NCT instruction and transaction with a preceding Request-To-Pay (RTP) message. This follows an RTP Scheme Rulebook prepared by the EPC, which came into effect in April. A 2.0 version of the EPC’s RTP Scheme Rulebook is expected to be published for consultation later this month.

The council’s working group is separately proposing that participants of the NCT scheme have a fast processing option that allows them to process transactions instantly (within a target maximum of ten seconds). All rules for rejects, returns and recalls, however, will apply in the same way as for a standard NCT transaction. The NPC envisages this option could be used for late payments (e.g., salaries, pensions, invoices), insurance payouts and tax payments.

By adding the fast processing option to the NCT scheme, PSPs could process money flows under standard NCT rules. This would enable PSPs to offer fast payments solutions during out-of-work-hours without the need to be confirmed the way an NCT Inst transaction is, NPC told VIXIO.

The NPC also wants to support future dated payments, by allowing users to specify a time when a payment is transferred across the instant credit transfer scheme.

The consultation on the NPC Credit Transfer Scheme and the NPC Instant Credit Transfer Scheme runs from November 1 to February 1, 2022. The updated versions of the NPC rulebooks will be published in June 2022 and will enter into effect in November 2023.

Editor's note: the article has been amended to add a clarification explaining the difference between the NCT fast processing option and the NCT Ins service.

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