Understanding the list of valid xml characters for your SEPA Credit Transfer (PAIN.001) and SEPA Direct Debit (PAIN.008) formats is really important. I know that is stating the obvious, but often invalid xml characters or illegal xml characters are entered into the payments format and can cause either the single payment to be rejected or worse still the entire file. Where this happens you need to have the appropriate processes in place to understand that either a single payment or the entire file has been rejected, this way you can correct and resubmit the required payment(s).
Invalid characters in your XML payments file prevents STP (Straight Through Processing) resulting in delayed payment(s), additional review and time spent making the appropriate corrections. Where an entire file is rejected, this correction effort can take a considerable amount of time.
Valid XML Characters:
You need to be aware of the list of valid xml characters for your generated SEPA message. Following is the list of supported xml characters, sometimes also referred to as legal xml characters:
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
/ – ? : ( ) . , ‘ +
XML Character Encoding or XML Character Representation:
Your bank may permit or support other xml characters or their XML representation. The following is a list of the main permitted and supported xml represented characters, but please check these with your bank for completeness:
- & represented as &
- < represented as <
- > represented as >
- “ represented as "
- ‘ represented as '
Options to ensure legal XML characters:
Keep in mind that your business / ERP system may be able to handle and accept a whole range of characters, some of which will be ‘illegal xml characters’. The process that generates the SEPA XML message may in turn map and create the SEPA payment or SEPA direct debit format with those invalid characters. Ultimately this may result in your bank rejecting the submitted payments. To ensure this doesn’t happen you have a couple of options:
- Ensure that the mapped fields in the ERP system can only accept the list of valid xml characters
- After the SEPA payment or SEPA direct debit file has been generated, scan it for invalid xml characters and replace them with a supported xml character