UTF-8 payment references for Faster Payments


Is it possible to have UTF-8 (emojis, etc) payment references for Faster Payments according to the spec? And if so, could Monzo allow it ? Currently there’s no way to type/paste Emojis in the reference field in the app, and incoming payments with those characters (from Starling) end up sanitised to plain text without emojis (not sure if that’s happening on the sending or receiving side though).


(Alex Sherwood) #2

I don’t think it’s an option because it’ll break the other banks :grimacing:


I was hoping to be able to do that on purpose - if the Faster payments spec allows it then I’d love to have an option (possibly under a warning or “advanced” section) to send any UTF-8 characters I want. :slight_smile:

(Andrew Schofield) #4

I’m pretty sure the messages sent via FPS are ISO 8583 which specifies ASCII, and this document suggests its even more restrictive than that:

(Tony Hoyle) #5

Lots of bank systems behave in entertaining ways if you send an ampersand, as they pass via xml without sanitising (or occasionally double sanitising so they display on the statement as &

(Andrew Schofield) #6

That’s interesting as my legacy bank account name has an ampersand in it and has never caused issues when sending payments to other banks as far as I’m aware.


Sent from Starling to the current account. So either Starling is at fault for escaping twice or Monzo is not unescaping properly. :sweat_smile:

(Andrew Schofield) #8

If you look at the transaction in the API you can see the raw FPS message that was sent. That should show you which end is doing it “wrong” (look in the metadata section of the transaction).

For reference my HSBC current account sends the “&” in my account name as just that, and Monzo renders it correctly in the feed.


Cool, so Starling seems at fault here - I’ve reported it on their forums.

Just out of curiosity, do you know which spec the FPS message conforms to? I’d like to parse it and see what “hidden” info is in there.

(https://youtu.be/5DmYLrxR0Y8) #10

Was there any doubt it was Starling at fault?

(Andrew Schofield) #11

The is the spec for FPS messages (from RBS but I don’t think that matters particularly, a cursory glance at the messages from the API seems to match the spec).

(system) closed #12

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