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Created: June 15, 2002.
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Interactive Financial Exchange Releases IFX Specification Version 1.3.

The Interactive Financial Exchange (IFX) Forum has published a new version 1.3 IFX specification. IFX is an XML-based communication protocol that "enables the exchange of information between financial institutions and their customers, their service providers, and other financial institutions." The Interactive Financial Exchange (IFX) Forum represents a group of business and technology professionals working to "develop a robust XML framework for the electronic business-to-business exchange of data among financial service institutions around the world." IFX version 1.3 includes the Direct Debit Payment process, used by business banking to draw funds from payers; typically, a direct debit payment case is a recurring transaction, where it is expected to occur periodically. Direct Debit Payment process is utilized by many businesses to ensure payment is made on time, achieve better and more accurate float, and eliminate the payment issuance process. Other enhancements to the IFX Business Message Specification for version 1.3 include multiple addresses in contact information, composite remittance or lockbox data, payment credit status, improvements to check ordering, deposit account application, status Code to the additional status aggregate, and effective date which now conforms to DateTime."

From the Introduction Section 1.1.1:

The IFX Business Message Specification: "This document provides the financial services industry with a common set of Business Messages that may be used to provide message-processing services across multiple organizations and networks. This document defines the information that must be sent in a message request and in a message response from a business perspective and provides message semantics for each request and response pair. This document provides the basis for business-level information flow between Financial Institutions, their customers, and third-party Service Providers.

For example, an individual account holder may bank from home using a secure connection over the public Internet to connect to their Financial Institution. The same request message sent from the personal computer in the home may enter the Financial Institution's private data network for processing or be routed to a third-party Service Provider that processes that message on behalf of the Financial Institution. Regardless of the organization that actually processes the message or what computing and network architecture that organization has installed, the customer receives a response message with standard semantics.

Update example: Multiple addresses in contact information. See "Address Type: There are many cases where customers have multiple addresses. They may have a seasonal home or a secondary home where some of their account information should be mailed. To accommodate this requirement, the specification now allows for multiple postal addresses each having its own address type. Also included are effective dates for when the address is active. Added <AddrType> to <PostAddr> to identify the address type."

From the Version 1.3 Overview:

The Interactive Financial Exchange (IFX) Specification provides a robust and scalable framework for the exchange of financial data and instructions independent of a particular network technology or computing platform. The information-sharing potential of IFX has been designed to support communication not only between a Financial Institution and its customers, but also between a Financial Institution and its Service Providers, between Financial Institutions, and eventually directly between customers (e.g., 'electronic wallet'). This specification supports existing and emerging financial services and is extensible and customizable for future growth.

The IFX Specification has been developed as a cooperative industry effort among major Financial Institutions, Service Providers, and information technology vendors to these institutions and their customers in the small business and consumer markets. This specification builds on previous industry experience, including the OFX and Gold specifications that are currently implemented by major Financial Institutions and Service Providers to enable the electronic exchange of financial data between them and their customers. The IFX Specification provides a comprehensive specification for new financial industry services and software while providing a common strategic direction for the evolution of existing products and services.

The IFX Specification provides Financial Institutions, their Service Provider vendors, and financial software developers for the small business and consumer markets with a generalized model for financial industry data communications. This generalized model consists of two parts: (1) A business-level Message Specification and its associated Data Dictionary, which are contained in Volumes 1 and 2, and (2) Implementation specifications, which are available separately at the IFX Forum website.

Principal references:

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