ISO 8583


ISO 8583 is a messaging standard used for payment card originated financial transactions. At present there are three different versions of the standard, as follows:

  • 1987 (used by Visa / MasterCard)
  • 1993 (used by Amex)
  • 2003

Each version is named based on the year that it was published.

Whilst ISO 8583 is an official standard, it is important to note that most implementations are derivatives and do not fully comply with the published standard, however the variations are typically minor and it is generally quite a trivial task to modify an existing ISO 8583 version handler to accommodate such variations.


The DL ISO8583 library is available free of charge and with a very liberal (zlib style) license. The library is written in C and is designed to be suitable for use on a variety of systems (including embedded devices). It can be used in environments both with and without dynamic memory allocation.

The library supports multiple ISO 8583 message handlers, each of which can be specified at run-time by the client application. Existing ISO 8583 message handlers can be easily modified to support derivative implementations, as required.


v0.0.4 (16th July 2008)

  • Bug-fix to address an issue when unpacking a variable length field that has a length greater than or equal to 100

v0.0.3 (14th October 2007)

  • Includes benchmarking module and sample MSVC 6.0 project files

v0.0.2 (3rd September 2007)

  • Includes ISO8583:1987/1993 (Binary) Message Handlers

v0.0.1 (28th August 2007)

  • Includes ISO 8583:1993 (Binary) Message Handler


  1. […] is ISO8583 (detailed overview).  checked out a large number of systems.  javapos, multixtpm and dl-iso8583 look the most promising, but are only solutions for integration if i’m able to find a […]

  2. […] you will find a number of iso8583 implementations. A C implementation is published on the web by Oscar Sanderson. The implementation is portable and is intended to run on point of sales terminals. Share […]

  3. Lazuardi Nasution says:

    Hi Oscar,

    I’m trying your ISO8583 library. It seem you do padding of odd length data. How can I know if it has been padded or not?

    Best regards,

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