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ISO8583 Authorisation & Clearing

Last updated: 08 July 2019

The main objective of the Berlin Group ISO8583 Authorisation & Clearing standards is to enable a true unbundling of card schemes and processing activities, as required for providing efficient SEPA card payment services to the market. To enable a card scheme-independent processing of transactions between issuers and acquirers, the development of scheme-independent message standards for this interface is required. Based on these considerations the group has defined a functional and technical architecture with a common set of authorisation and clearing standards for the interface between the acquirer host and the issuer host, which is independent of a specific card scheme, and takes into account the requirements of the SEPA region for card processing as identified by the EPC. Once established in the market, these standards will also allow an easy entry of new payment schemes into the European market, thus contributing to competition in the field of payment systems.

The Berlin Group ISO8583 Authorisation & Clearing specifications describe the acquirer to issuer interface for debit and credit card processing services at POS, ATM, e-payments and MOTO as identified within the EPC Cards Standardisation Volume.

In detail, the ISO8583-based specifications support the following EPC Cards Standardisation Volume services: ATM Cash Withdrawal, Balance Inquiry, Cancellation, Card Validity Check, Cash Advance (attended), Combined Funds Request/Top-up, Deferred Payment, Funds Request for Top-up, Issuer initiated referral, No Show, Original Credit, Payment, Payment with Cashback, Payment with deferred Clearing, Payment with Increased Amount, Payment with purchasing or corporate card data, Pre-Authorisation Services (Multi Step Payment), Quasi Cash Payment, Recurring Payment, Remote Payments, Refund and Unsolicited Balance Information. The clearing interface supports presentments, charge backs, fee collection for services, reconciliations, message rejections and file rejections.

The Berlin Group has closely worked with the ISO community (ISO TC68/SC7/TG1) on harmonisation of AES integration. On 8 July 2019, a new version 3.2 of the ISO8583 Authorisation specifications has been published on the website, with AES and optional integration of card data encryption included.


The settlement of Interchange Fees is integrated within the presentments. For the clearing, rules have been defined for the technical processing, for example d+0 settlement and rejection rights. Other aspects of the clearing processing such as presentment periods or charge back reasons, are defined as default rules like presentment periods or charge back reasons. Moreover, procedures between back offices like additional information for dispute management are also standardized. The settlement is performed once a day, normally using Target 2. Settlement is performed between the gateways, on behalf of their respective acquirers and issuers. The detailed processing rules can be found in a dedicated clearing and settlement rule book.

Implementation levels vary throughout the years, due to alternating business conditions. Seven European processors consistently support gateway implementations based on the Berlin Group ISO8583:1993 standards.

Public Articles

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Technical Specifications

  • The Technical Specifications on ISO8583 Authorisation and Clearing can be downloaded here

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