Issuing QR bills
Companies have been able to issue QR bills since 30 June 2020. This billing format is more secure and easier to manage, meaning you can handle more of the billing function on your own.
QR bills can be issued three different ways:
1) If you currently use orange (BVR) payment slips, your QR slips will contain your QR-IBAN and QR reference information.
If you don’t yet have a BVR number or if you haven’t received your new QR-IBAN, please contact your BCV advisor.
Account numbers must be in IBAN format.
3) If you usually include a SCOR reference number on your bills, your QR slips will contain both your IBAN and SCOR.
The new QR bills are designed to meet the Swiss payment standards criteria.
With the new QR bills, you can manage billing on your own – no need to order preprinted payment slips. You can print your bills easily in black-and-white on white perforated paper.
- You can print QR bills on your own perforated, white paper – no need to order preprinted payment slips
- You can generate QR bills easily with your accounting software (but check that it’s been updated)
- QR bills can be generated in CHF or EUR
- You can add additional information to your QR bills, such as your company’s registration number or a reference number for each bill, making it easier to streamline your accounting process
- Because QR codes contain more detailed information and use only IBAN account numbers, they’re more secure than other payment methods
Companies have been able to issue QR bills since 30 June 2020. To transition over to the new format, there are some preliminary steps you should take:
If you use billing and accounting software
- Contact the software developer(s) to update your software so that you can generate QR bills and process the data contained in QR codes.
If you have a BVR number for generating orange payment slips
- Your QR-IBAN replaces your BVR number. Enter your new QR-IBAN in your billing software. If you haven’t yet received your QR-IBAN, please contact your BCV advisor.
If you order preprinted payment slips or print them yourself
- Order perforated A4 paper from a printer or your software developer so that you can generate your own QR bills.
If you receive customer payment files that you use to automate your accounting processes
- Make sure your software can process payment files in the CAMT format and update your BCV-net settings so that you can download these files. The CAMT files will replace v11 files.
If you don’t already use billing software
- There are various software programs available in the market for generating QR bills.
If you don’t yet issue bills
- Contact your BCV advisor for a QR-IBAN so that you can generate QR bills. If you send bills only occasionally, you can bill using only your IBAN.
Do I have to send my bills in the new QR format?
Yes, transitioning to the new QR format is mandatory. Beginning on 1 October 2022, BV (red) and BVR (orange) payment slips will no longer be payable. For a smooth transition, we recommend that you switch over as soon as possible and avoid sending BV or BVR bills close to the cutoff date. You will see that QR bills are easier to generate than BV and BVR slips, so transitioning as soon as possible will streamline your billing process.
I would like to issue QR bills only occasionally. Can you print them for me?
No, you are responsible for managing your own billing. You can use a QR-generator software program available in the market and print your bills on perforated white paper. If you issue bills for electronic payment (e-banking or mobile banking), you can send them to your customers by email in PDF format.
Can BCV provide me with perforated paper to print my QR bills?
No. You can order paper from the supplier of your choice. To see a list of companies that sell perforated paper, go to Payment Standards.ch.
What are the rules for generating QR codes and formatting QR bills? How are QR bills different from the current payment slips?
The Swiss financial industry has published the following guidelines:
- Technical and functional specifications for the payment part with Swiss QR code and for the receipt
- Layout rules and recommendations for the payment part with Swiss QR Code and for the receipt.
Please also note the following:
- The name of the company that appears on the QR bill must match the name on the account to be credited; the same is true for the QR-IBAN numbers. If this information does not match, your payments could be rejected.
- It is recommended that you enter all the payment data on the QR bill, so that your payments will be processed completely automatically. The payer can only write in the following fields: name and address of the bill recipient (under “Payable by”) and the payment amount. However, writing in this information will add a processing fee (for example, when paying bills at the Swiss post office).
- The payer will no longer be able to write in a message to the payee.
Should I test out my QR bills with BCV first?
You are responsible for managing your QR bills. Unlike with BVR payment slips, you do not need to test your QR bills with us first.
If you wish to test out your QR bills, you can:
Do I need to have a QR-IBAN to issue a QR bill?
No. Depending on your situation, there are two main options:
- If you previously sent BVR slips, your new QR slips will contain a QR-IBAN and a QR reference number. In this case, BCV should have provided you with a QR-IBAN number for each of your accounts to replace your BVR number. If you don’t yet have this number, please contact your BCV advisor.
- If you previously sent BV slips and you did not already use billing software, you may generate your bills using an IBAN number only, without a reference number. In this case, you don’t need to include a QR-IBAN.
A third option is to use an IBAN number with a SCOR (Creditor Reference) number. This could be a good option if your bill recipients abroad are already familiar with this standard.
Can I use my current BVR reference number as the QR reference number with the QR-IBAN?
The QR reference number is different from previous reference numbers in that you can organize the 27 available positions (26 numerical characters + 1 check digit) however you wish. Please note the following:
- You may choose to keep your existing BVR reference numbers (including the participant number in the first 6 positions) and use them as your QR reference numbers. This will ensure that your payment data is processed in the same way as before.
- You can, of course, structure your QR reference number in whatever way will best help you to identify certain types of payments. If you choose this option, make sure that your billing software can process payments using the QR-IBAN and QR reference number combination you have decided on.
During the transition phase, when both standard payment slips and QR bills are used, it is important to make sure that your BVR payment slips (using the BVR participant number and reference number) and your QR bills (using the QR-IBAN and QR reference number) are processed separately. Be sure that your existing creditor data is not overridden by the QR bill data or vice versa.
What formats are available for the QR-IBAN payment data?
The payment data, including the value date, creditor account, and the QR-IBAN (or the BVR participant number during the transition phase), are available in the following formats:
- camt.053: account statement (daily, weekly, monthly)
- camt.054: QR-IBAN/BVR payment advice (available during the transition phase)