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IFX Forum to Participate in ISTH Initiative for Core Payment XML Kernel

IFX Forum to Develop Standardized XML Payment Messaging with Leading Banks, Other Standards Groups

Alexandria, VA, USA. November 10, 2003.

The Interactive Financial eXchange (IFX) Forum expects to be a key player in the International Standards Team Harmonization (ISTH) initiative that was announced on Friday by Gartner, Inc. The IFX Forum, comprised of representatives of leaders in the financial services industry, has a strong track record in XML development and has already delivered robust, extensible financial messaging standards that are rich in payment content and designed for interoperability.

The Gartner-moderated meeting included representatives of banks, technology vendors and the standards organizations IFX Forum, OAGi (Open Applications Group), SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) and TWIST (Treasury Workstation Integration Standards Team).

The meeting's purpose was to announce the formation of the ISTH group, with its goal to create a single Core Payment XML "Kernel" that can be used globally by any corporation and any servicing bank, and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the four standards groups to cooperate and coordinate their message standards' content and use of a core payment kernel XML transaction. RosettaNet has also endorsed the ISTH's direction.

"The ISTH initiative is a superb opportunity for the IFX Forum to contribute our skills and experience toward the worthy goal of furthering globally interoperable financial messaging," said Richard P. Urban, IFX Forum president. "Because the Forum has already been down some of the paths ISTH will travel, we can help the team avoid resource-wasting detours and pitfalls, enhancing overall team effectiveness. We also bring an extensive background in meeting the challenges of interoperability, and especially with payments, using XML."

The IFX standard, first published in April 2000 and now in its fifth release, is designed specifically for interoperability of systems seeking to exchange financial information internally and externally. Currently, the IFX standard addresses these ISTH-relevant areas:

  • Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment
  • Business to Business Payments
  • Business to Business Banking (such as balance and transaction reporting, remittance information)
  • Automated Teller Machine communications
  • Consumer to Business Payments
  • Consumer to Business Banking

The IST Harmonization group has agreed on these payment objectives:

  • Determine the business model to be applied to its work.

  • Identify and resolve content differences between the messages so a single set of content can be used for the actual payment instruction and the related advice/status messages that go with it.

  • Recommend a common core payment that can be accepted into each of the standards bodies for use.

  • Establish a method of interoperability that allows the Core Payment Kernel to have extended or related messages packaged with it. For example, attaching a remittance advice to the payment instruction.

The group intends to make its recommendations through a joint announcement early in 2004. Publication of the Core Payment Kernel into each standard, following the announcement, will occur at the earliest appropriate time for that standard.

Banks participating in the ISTH initiative include:

  • Bank of America (NYSE: BAC)
  • Citibank (NYSE: C)
  • Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE: AG)
  • JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM)
  • Nordea
  • Standard Chartered
  • Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC)

Gartner, Inc. is a research and advisory firm that helps more than 10,000 clients leverage technology to achieve business success.

About the IFX Forum

The Interactive Financial Exchange (IFX) Forum is a non-profit standards-developing organization made up of leading financial institutions, service providers and software vendors. The IFX Forum's mission is to facilitate the development and maintenance of specifications and standards necessary for interoperable and interactive financial exchange.

Membership in the IFX Forum is open to anyone interested in contributing to the development of open financial standards that harness the power of XML. The IFX Forum is currently organized into the following Working Groups: ATM/POS; Business Banking; Electronic Bill Presentment & Payment; and Web Services. IFX Forum Working Groups, in concert with an Architecture Committee to coordinate their efforts, develop open Internet-compatible messages for all sectors of the financial services industry. To learn more about IFX Forum standards or the benefits of IFX Forum membership, please visit


Virtual, Inc.
Judith Vanderkay
Tel: +1 781-224-6208

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See details in the news story "ISTH Initiative Develops Core Payments XML Kernel Transaction Standard."

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