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Encoding in text file context (such as XML file) is a map between Binary code and Character. For example character a is presented with same binary value in the common encodings as the table below shows:
|0110 0001||ISO 8859-1||a|
|0110 0001||ISO 8859-15||a|
Problems can emerge when in different encodings same binary code represents different characters. As the table below shows the file might contain invalid binary values if actual encoding is something else than the one given in XML declaration.
|1010 0100||ISO 8859-1||¤|
|1010 0100||ISO 8859-15||€|
|1010 0100||UTF-8||invalid sequence alone|
ISO 20022 has decided to restrict character set usage to only UTF-8 on the fact that it is the most efficient (length-wise) way to transport characters http://www.iso20022.org/FAQ.page.