How to Remove Special Characters and National Character Errors from Your PMW Files

  • by Amber Christian, Founder, Ace LLC
  • August 22, 2016
Learn how to activate conversion modules to eliminate national characters or remove special characters from your payment files. Understand how to add your own characters for exclusion in addition to standard features.
Learning Objectives

In this article you will learn how to:

  • Convert national characters such as æ, ö, ä, ü
  • Remove special characters such as #,*, and ?
  • Exclude or include characters in your file based on your own definition
Key Concept
Special characters such as # and / can cause payment files to fail. Certain national characters such as æ and ö can also be problematic for payment processing. There are functions within the Payment Medium Workbench (PMW) that allow for removal of both special characters and national characters to reduce the risk of payment failures. These functions aren’t activated on all text fields by default, but can be selectively added where needed.

In spite of many advances in payment technology, it is common to be asked to remove special characters and national characters from payment files. This usually occurs in one of three situations:

  • Certain payment layouts use special characters as line delimiters. Therefore, these characters cannot be contained in any descriptive text included on payments.
  • Country clearing systems may not allow certain types of characters. For example, any characters outside of the permitted Kanji and Katakana languages in Japan without proper ? tags around the text cause payments to fail.
  • Banks may have legacy processing systems that are unable to handle special characters.

To review a payment layout to add these function modules, the layout must first be called up for editing by executing the DMEE (Data Medium Exchange Engine) transaction code (Format Tree Maintenance Tool). The DMEE transaction code is not in the menu path, so you need to enter it directly. After you execute transaction code DMEE, the system displays the screen shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1
Selection of a payment format tree type

To change the payment layout, enter Tree Type paym. In the format field, enter CGI_XML_CT for the layout. Click the change button to change the layout as shown in Figure 1.

All transaction examples in this document use the DMEE and show CGI_XML_CT as a layout. However, as a best practice standard layouts should be copied into a customer layout so that OSS changes do not overwrite the payment layout in use.

Within the format, the detailed conversion occurs at the lowest level of the file in which the data is selected from the Payment Medium Workbench (PMW) structures. There are multiple ways to set up a reference to the data from the SAP structures used by the PMW. Conditional atoms and nodes are two of the most common ways refer to the structures used to perform the data selection. Nodes are very straightforward, and simply refer to the field that should be selected from the payment structures. Conditional atoms are used when different fields should be selected for different cases for the same file field. For example, consider a scenario in which your bank requires you to include the name of the vendor that is receiving the payment. To meet this requirement, you need a way to populate the vendor name. For this example, assume this process can be accomplished by pulling values either from the Account Holder field or the Vendor name field. Conditional atoms are used in these situations, as shown in Figure 2. Conditional atoms are used when different fields are used to populate output upon meeting output criteria. In Figure 2, the account holder field (KOINH) is shown.  The important distinction for special characters and conversion between nodes and conditional atoms is ensuring the conversion is set at the lowest level. If a node is being used to select data from the PMW structures, then the conversion is added at the node level. If conditional atoms are used, the conversion is at the atom level.

Figure 2
The DMEE transaction showing the attributes for the Nm node of the payment tree

Next to the Conv. function field is the detail view: conversion icon . Click this icon to display additional conversion options for this field (Figure 3). Available conversion options are linked to the type of field. Figure 3 shows the character conversion options that are available.

Figure 3
Detail view: Conversion options

There are two sets of options to use for this field: Alignment and Additional options.

Amber Christian

Amber Christian is the founder of Ace LLC. She has worked on SAP solutions for over 13 years, with the last seven years as a consultant. She has implemented Accounts Receivables, Accounts Payable, Treasury, and Cash Management solutions for North America, South America, Europe, and Asia in industries such as chemical, transportation, professional services, mining, and manufacturing. She is a frequent blogger and conference presenter on a variety of SAP finance and treasury topics.

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