Elevating Payment Standards with Form3: A Vision of Efficiency and Resilience

Thought Leadership· 3min January 19, 2024

Most of us at Form3 have over 20 years of experience in banking technology. The combination of that experience and excellence of engineering is one of our greatest strengths.

We understand from first-hand experience, how traditional banking systems consist out of legacy infrastructures and applications that are often decennia old, hard to build and maintain and can be a complete distraction from the core business.

This is where we found our niche and our constant drive to remove complexity and unburden our customers of the last stages of the payments processing journey. Reducing the cost of run, change, and providing scalability and resilience are always front of mind at Form3.

Standards are key

Standards are key. They set the expectations on what data you can receive, where you receive it and crucially what they mean. A standard lives by the agreement of its users. As users have different interests and act in different environments there is never a single standard but more non-standard forms of language, local and regional dialects if you will. The more complex the landscape a user operates in, the more non-standard languages and varieties it needs to deal with.

The common thread lies in the data. It is our standards expertise at Form3 that allows us to simplify our customers’ experience to the level of single data stacks and provide them complete abstraction from syntax and transport layers. For the past 6 years we have managed our customers’ transactions on our single data stack API without a breaking change.

The standard we get asked about most is ISO 20022. Though in itself a central dictionary of business items, most conversations are about the messages that are derived from the standard. This is the place where there is the most non-standard usage, a natural consequence of ISO 20022 being an open global standard. The whole point is to be able to cater for all users and all varieties.

The main question we are asked is if we are compliant with ISO 20022 and the answer is a wholehearted yes! And then we start a conversation about why and how we are compliant.

We believe in the power of a dictionary and setting a common definition of business items that are used throughout the financial industry, independent of how and where information is exchanged. We believe those data concepts will stand the test of time and changes to definitions will be small and rare and it allows for easy inclusion of new concepts.

Because our stack is built on these concepts, we don’t provide a like for like translation of messages as that would undermine our single integration for customers and would lead to unnecessary repeat of data. Making an abstraction of messages allows us to offer a single integration which works in multiple markets and offer a single integration which remains the same over time whilst expanding across new markets and services, undisrupted by maintenance or market migrations.

When customers say they have implemented ISO 20022 they mean very different things, implementations range from simple translations to the rarer full integration into back-office applications. We do understand that if you have gone through implementation in whatever shape or form you have spent a lot of time and effort on that. The first thing that comes to mind then is to ask; why is Form3 not providing a like for like translation or message upload service? It is because we are looking to solve the problem not to shift it.

We take our standards very seriously. So much so that we have a separate business line in our organisation that manages the consistency of the experience of our customers across our full business. We strive to make the experience continually better and help our customers overcome hurdles and experience our best in the world technology platform for account-to-account payments processing.

We understand that the first challenge may lie in convincing your organisation to move from sending out messages to integration to data or in integrating, in full, with our JSON RESTful API. We welcome you in to let us know where these hurdles originate and what they look like in detail and would welcome the opportunity to explain our vision to your stakeholders. At the same time, we are exploring options to support our customers further in these matters whilst still holding true to our Form3 design principles and agnostic approach. We are consciously pushing the boundaries of conventional payments processing and design management, both for and with our customers.

We don’t do small ambitions at Form3. We are raising the standard.

Written by

Jolanda Schekermans Head of Product - API Experience