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.

On 30 September 2022, QR bills will permanently replace the current red (BV) and orange (BVR) payment slips.

What has changed?

TP-Changement

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. 

When you enter payments containing a QR-IBAN, you must also enter the QR reference (the equivalent of the BVR number). This allows your billing software to automatically reconcile your payment data.

QR-facture avec QR-IBAN et référence QR

2) If you currently use red (BV) payment slips, your QR slips will contain only your IBAN.

Account numbers must be in IBAN format.

QR-facture avec IBAN seul

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.

QR-facture avec IBAN et référence SCOR

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.

What are the advantages?

TP-Avantages
  • 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
  • There are fewer data processing errors with QR bills, as the payment data contained in the QR code is simply scanned digitally when the customer makes a payment (by mobile phone, with an optical reader, or at the Swiss post office).  

 

 

What should you do to get ready?

TP-Mise à jour

As of 1 October 2022, your customers will no longer be able to pay any orange (BVR) or red (BV) payment slips you send out. To avoid unpleasant surprises, you should make the transition to QR bills well in advance.

We recommend that you stop sending out BVR/BV payment slips as soon as your billing cycle allows, but at the latest by the end of June 2022.

To help you make this switch, we’ve put together a quick case-by-case guide (below).

1) If you use billing and accounting software

Your software update should enable you to generate QR bills with a QR-IBAN and reference number, as well as process payment files in the CAMT format.

If your software still cannot generate QR bills or process CAMT files, contact your software provider to find out when this update will take place. If needed, you can buy new billing software that lets you generate QR bills.

CAMT files let you process data from both BVR payment slips and QR slips, which gives you some flexibility in how you adapt your billing processes. For example, you could first change the payment file format and then send your first QR bills.

2) If you have a BVR number for generating orange payment slips

You should have received your QR-IBANs in the post. These must be saved in your billing software so that you can generate your invoices. If you cannot find your QR-IBAN, please contact your BCV advisor.

You now have one QR-IBAN per payment account. If you previously used several participant numbers for a single payment account, please note that you will no longer be able to receive your payment data in separate files. All your payment data will be incorporated into a single CAMT file.

For a smooth transition from BVR slips to QR bills, you can keep your current BVR reference numbers (27 digits) as your QR reference numbers. That way, your software will identify your old participant numbers from the first six digits of your reference numbers.

3) If you receive customer payment files that you use to automate your accounting processes

When you receive your first payment from a QR slip, you will stop receiving BVR payment files (v11 files). After that, you will receive all your payment data (from both BVR and QR slips) in CAMT format.

This means that before you send your first QR bill (even as a test), you should make sure that CAMT message files are turned on in BCV-net (Preferences > Camt message files) or in BCV-connect.

You will now receive CAMT files, which contain all the payment data for a given payment account. You will receive one CAMT file per bank account.

4 ) If you order preprinted payment slips or print them yourselfe

You can now print your own QR payment slips on perforated white A4 paper. You can order this type of paper from specialized providers.

If you have been ordering preprinted orange payment slips from BCV, please note that this service will not be available for QR bills, since you can easily print these yourself. We will stop providing preprinted orange slips in the first half of 2022.

5) If you are getting ready to send your first QR bills with QR-IBANs

If your bill recipients use the payment data they have saved in their online banking platform to pay their QR bills, the payments may not go through. To avoid this problem, you should let them know that that they can no longer use their saved BVR payment data to pay their QR bills and that they must create new payment orders.

Below is an informational leaflet (in French only) that you can print and send to customers with your first QR bills.

6) If you issue red (BV) payment slips and don’t already use billing software

You can get a software program available on the market to generate your QR slips and use a commercial printer to print them on perforated white paper. Alternatively, you can hire a third-party provider to generate your QR slips.

7) If you don’t yet issue bills

Contact your BCV advisor to receive a QR-IBAN so that you can issue QR bills. If you send bills only occasionally, you may opt to invoice using only your IBAN.Prenez contact avec votre conseillère ou votre conseiller pour obtenir un QR-IBAN pour émettre des QR-factures. Si vos factures sont occasionnelles, vous pouvez opter pour une facturation avec IBAN uniquement.

Additional documents

To help companies transition over from orange (BVR) payment slips to QR bills, we’ve put together a checklist of steps to take.

To make sure your QR bills are paid, we recommend giving your customers a bit of extra information when you send out your first QR slips. We’ve created a simple leaflet that you can print and send with your bills if desired.

 
 

FAQ

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:

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:

  • check your QR code on the Swiss financial industry’s validation portal
  • check the layout of your QR bill using the grid sheet provided on Payment Standards.ch
  • generate a test QR bill and check that it can be scanned in BCV Mobile or paid in person at the post office.

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)

Frequently asked questions

TP-FAQ

Documents

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