The QR-bill

Questions and answers

Billers

Planning and preparation

A QR-bill is an invoice with an integrated payment part and receipt. The upper part of the QR-bill is like a “normal” invoice; the lower part is the payment part including receipt, which will replace the existing orange or red payment slip from 30 June 2020, after the parallel phase. The phase-out date for the orange and red payment slips will be defined by the financial center in due course.

The versions differ in terms of use of the account/IBAN and references:

  • for the Swiss standard: QR-bill with QR-IBAN and QR reference
  • for the international standard: QR-bill with IBAN and creditor reference
  • for simple billing: IBAN without structured reference

All three versions can be created in CHF and EUR.

Clients who wish to create and send QR-bills using their software need to have the following in place:

From 30 June 2020, we are offering a new solution to clients without software who want to receive QR-bills via UBS.

We recommend the following to you as a client:

  • Check the accounts receivable master records, especially the addresses – ideally these should be structured – and add the account in IBAN format and QR-IBAN
  • Clarify whether the invoicing solution in use supports the creation of QR-bills and plan the changeover time during the transition phase
  • Ensure that their software is capable of processing the notification that uses camt messages
  • For the changeover of electronic notification of payment receipts from v11 ESR credit file to camt.054, clients should contact their client advisor
  • Efficiently manage your stocks of forms (e.g., blank forms or templates) ready for when payment slips are replaced with the QR-bill

Yes. The requirements according to the “Swiss Implementation Guidelines QR-bill” must be complied with. To assist you, the document “Style Guide QR-bill” contains layout specifications and recommendations for the QR-bill. The “Grid Sheet” can be used for visual verification of the payment part and receipt.

It can be used in three different ways:

  • integrated into a QR-bill as a hard copy (including perforation in accordance with the layout specifications)
  • as a hard copy attachment to a bill (including perforation in accordance with layout specifications)
  • integrated into a QR-bill for email bills, e.g., in PDF format (including scissor symbol or information about separation)

The QR Code contains all the relevant information on the payer, amount, currency, etc. You can find a complete list in the “Swiss Implementation Guidelines QR-bills. ” Please note that under “Information,” all of the values from the Swiss QR Code relevant for a payment must be printed.

Due to regulatory requirements and the decision of the financial center to use the IBAN format of the payee's account on the QR-bill in Switzerland, a successor solution to the ESR subscriber number had to be devised. After testing several variants, it turned out that a high level of end-to-end automation can only be ensured in conjunction with a special IBAN, the QR-IBAN.

No. At UBS, the form test is not mandatory for QR-bills. However, UBS is glad to offer them to you for free. Send us examples of your QR-bills to the following address:

UBS Switzerland AG
Client Lifecycle Services
E-Contracts
Postfach
CH-8098 Zurich

Please note that the requirements in accordance with the “Swiss Implementation Guidelines QR-bill” must be complied with. For assistance, please refer to the UBS brochure for QR-bills.

The “Grid Sheet” can be used for visual verification of the payment part and receipt.

At UBS, the BESR-ID must continue to be used in the first 6 digits of the QR reference. In other words, we recommend you use the same references (or a sequential reference) you’ve used until now on the orange payment slip.

You can start billing with QR-bills from 30 June 2020.

However, there will be a transitional phase with parallel use of QR-bills and orange and red payment slips. An end date for the discontinuation of the previous payment slips is still open and will be announced by PostFinance.

We recommend that you start planning the switch to the QR-bill in the next two to three years.

UBS QR-bills

Swiss francs and euros can be used. The currency abbreviation CHF or EUR must be printed on the payment part below the Swiss QR Code, to the left of the amount field and on the receipt.

The following features of the QR-bill can be used:

  • QR-bill with QR-IBAN and QR reference
  • QR-bill with IBAN and creditor reference (ISO 11649)
  • QR-bill with IBAN without a reference

The difference is in the use of IBAN and the references.

QR-bills with QR-IBAN and QR reference or QR-bill with IBAN and creditor reference are collectively booked according to the type of reference and currency. The collective booking details can be obtained as a camt message. The individual transactions are also visible in E-Banking. Alternatively, a paper-based notification is still offered.

For billers with software who create QR-bills themselves, the BESR-ID must be used in the QR reference to prevent incorrect credits and rejections. The QR reference and the ESR reference have exactly the same form and are validated in the same way. Thus, in the case of an orange payment slip for which payment has already taken place in an online channel, this could be mistakenly paid again as an orange payment slip by only replacing the ESR reference with the QR reference. This would cause an incorrect credit (the payment would be credited to the wrong payee) or rejection (the payment is returned to the payer).

Since you can continue to use the BESR-ID in the QR reference, the same references can be used as a sequential number as before with the orange payment slip.

For billers with software, the BESR-ID in the QR reference must be used during the parallel phase of orange payment slips and QR-bill. If you don’t already have a BESR-ID, please apply to UBS Switzerland AG for the new identification number (ID no.) for the QR references.

Creating the QR-bill

The rules are contained in the Style Guide.

You can use the Grid Sheet to make a manual check and can check the data content of the QR code on the UBS test platform. UBS continues to offer a form test for the variant QR-IBAN and QR reference. Send us examples of your QR-bills to the following address:

UBS Switzerland AG
Client Lifecycle Services
E-Contracts
Postfach
CH-8098 Zurich

No. If information on the amount and the bill payer is not printed at the time of invoicing, colorless text boxes with corner marks must be added in both the payment part and in the receipt so they can be edited by hand. For further information, see the “Swiss Implementation Guidelines QR-bill.”

Additional information may be used for all three versions. Unstructured information may be used to specify a payment purpose or to provide additional textual information on structured reference payments under “Additional information.” This must be filled out in advance and cannot be filled in with handwritten text anymore.

The name and address of the bill payer “Payable by” and the amount can be added by hand if these fields are not already filled out. Handwritten additions or changes are otherwise not allowed.

Clients with a BESR-ID were contacted in Q2/2020 and sent their QR-IBAN. New clients need to apply for the QR-IBAN and will be sent a 6-digit ID no. This ID no. must be used in the first 6 digits of the QR reference.

A perforation of the payment part is mandatory if the QR-bill is to be printed and sent. If the QR-bill with payment part and receipt or the payment part with receipt are created separately as a PDF document and sent electronically, the format A6 of the payment part and the receipt on the left must be marked by lines. In addition, a scissor symbol must be added to each of these lines or alternatively the note Separate before paying in must be added above the line (outside the payment part).

No. The “Swiss Implementation Guidelines QR-bill” must be complied with.

Yes, however the amount quoted must always be specified numerically with decimal separator and two decimal places; in this case the amount is to be specified with “0.00” and the text “Do not use invoice for payment” must be included under “Additional information.”

The field names “Payment purpose” and “Don't attach notification” used on today’s payment slips will be replaced by the “Additional Information” field, which can contain up to 140 characters.

Additional information may be used for all three versions of the QR-bill. This information will be in the form of unstructured notifications or “invoice information.”

The information used there must be printed on the payment part to the right of the Swiss QR Code. Handwritten additions are no longer permitted.

Unstructured notifications may be used to specify a payment purpose or to provide additional text information on structured reference payments. This data is forwarded with the payment by scanning the QR code.

Billing information contains coded information for the automated booking of the payment. This data is not forwarded with the payment, and the data is an advantage for automated accounts payable processing.

If an invoice is created with the payment part and receipt integrated into the form, advertising is not permitted in the payment part and receipt.

However, advertising is allowed in the freely designable invoice part above the perforation.

Printing a QR-bill

The QR-bill, including payment part and receipt, can be created with commercially available printers.

For printing, natural white or white paper, weighing 80 to 100 g/m2 can be used. Tested recycling, FSC and TCF paper grades are allowed; coated or reflective grades are not permitted.

Approved fonts are the sans serif fonts Arial, Frutiger, Helvetica and Liberations Sans, in black and neither italicized nor underlined. Font size: minimum 6 pt. and maximum 10 pt. Detailed printing requirements are contained in the IG QR-bill.

BESR-ID, QR-IBAN, QR-IID and QR reference

Yes, the ESR reference can continue to be used in the QR-bill.

During the parallel phase of existing payment slips and QR-bill, UBS clients are strongly advised to continue using the ESR reference in the QR-bill with a QR reference.

In the “Reference” field, the 27-digit QR reference (currently the ESR reference number) or the creditor reference of up to 25 digits according to ISO 11649 are permitted. If the QR reference is chosen, the QR-IBAN must be used; if the creditor reference is chosen, the IBAN must be used.

Ultimate Creditor for billing (future use)

The Ultimate Creditor is the final payee. It will not yet be possible to fill out and forward this information when the QR-bill starts on 30 June 2020. However, a placeholder is anticipated in the QR code for future use of this information. Today, it is already possible to include this information in the file payment with pain.001.

The financial center will decide when this information can be delivered along with the QR-bill.

End of ESR/ES and parallel phase

Until the red and orange payment slips are phased out, you can decide which payment slips you would like to use for billing. Following the parallel phase, only the QR-bill can be used, which is why you should start changing over as soon as possible.

Costs

Our price list for private clients can be found under the following link:

Price list for private clients

Our price list for companies can be found under the following link:

Price list for companies (PDF, 2 MB)

The prices are set by the post office and published on postfinance.ch (German).

By choosing to pay the amount at the post office counter, the payer or debtor instructs the fees to be charged to the QR biller.

Bill Payers

Planning and preparation per payment channel

It depends on how the payer pays their invoices. According to our analyses, our clients generally use two different channels for their payments at UBS. The checklist (PDF, 83 KB) for payers provides an overview and instructions on when something needs to be performed by the client.

From 30 June 2020, if you use the online services Mobile Banking, E-Banking, Multimat or the hard copy order via UBS easy forms, hard copy standing orders or your client advisor, you will still be able to use them with the QR-bill.

If you use one of the UBS interfaces and therefore enter the invoice in a software program first, you need to update your software and if necessary any invoice scanner or entire accounts payable processes in good time.

It will still be possible to pay QR-bills at post office counters (post office agencies or branches) in the same way as payment slips today. Within UBS, today’s payment orders can also be used with QR-bills via UBS easy forms, hard copy standing orders or a client advisor.

Every financial institution will assist its clients with the changeover and has been working closely with the software industry for several years so that updates are available on time. Numerous ERP software providers have launched software modules and are committed to a timely and successful changeover. SIX has set up a readiness section on its official page for this purpose:

UBS offer for payment of QR-bills

Yes, as is normal with today’s red and orange payment slips, the payment part can be attached to a hard copy payment order. The requirement is that the QR-bill is already filled with a minimum of information, i.e., account/payable to and currency. If the amount is missing, it must be added manually. Payment is then possible with the following orders like today:

  • UBS easy for CHF
  • UBS easy international for EUR
  • Hard copy standing order
  • One-time order (letter, email, telephone)

Please note that for payment orders with UBS easy forms and hard copy standing orders, all of the information printed on the payment part or information that is allowed to be filled in by hand is always forwarded with the payment regardless of whether it is necessary to execute the payment. Handwritten additions (but not crossed-out text) are only allowed if there is a missing amount and/or bill payer “Payable by.”

The client can simply scan the QR Code and trigger the payments with the UBS Mobile Banking app, in UBS E-Banking (e.g., with an external scanner) or at a UBS Multimat at their nearest branch.

The payment part must be separated from the QR-bill using a pair of scissors. Afterwards, the payment part without receipt can be attached to a payment order as a hard copy.

Please note that for payment orders with UBS easy forms and hard copy standing orders, all of the information printed on the payment part or information that is allowed to be filled in by hand is always forwarded with the payment regardless of whether it is necessary to execute the payment. Handwritten additions (but not crossed-out text) are only allowed if there is a missing amount and/or bill payer “Payable by.”

Reporting (account statement, debit display, standing order)

There are no new reports specific to the new QR-bill. The existing debit displays will continue to be available to clients for all payments.

We’ve ensured that when a QR-bill is paid, the information is also displayed in the relevant report. The only restrictions concern how the debit is displayed:

  • Physical: On QR-bills without a reference, the “Ultimate Debtor” field cannot be displayed because the payment cannot be identified as a QR-bill.
  • Online: In the UBS Mobile Banking app, account movements are displayed without details.

QR-bill with QR reference vs. BESR

The QR reference is one of two structured reference used for QR-bills and must always be used with the QR-IBAN. With orange payment slips (UBS BESR or UBS BESR Quick) the ESR reference is used as a structured reference with a post office account number.

QR reference and ESR reference are structured exactly the same way and are also validated the same way. As a result, an orange payment slip already paid in an online channel could mistakenly be paid again as an orange payment slip simply by replacing the ESR reference with the QR reference. This would lead to an incorrect credit (the payment is credited to the wrong recipient) or rejection (rejection of the payer’s payment).

To prevent the above, we have incorporated very clear warnings in UBS Digital Banking and in UBS Multimats expressly asking the client what type of payment they wish to submit. Software users must ensure that they enter the correct payment type in their entry software.

Bill payers

The Ultimate Debtor is the person who receives the QR-bill, i.e., the bill payer. The institute of the debtor must forward the bill payer’s data to the institute of the payee according to the agreement with the debtor. This is done provided that the debtor transmits this data in the payment order. The bill payer’s data is forwarded except in cases where there are instructions to the contrary, or in cases where special agreements with the debtor make it impossible to forward the data.

The bill payer is optional information that is not required to execute the payment. It can be omitted when making the payment.

This option is present in UBS Digital Banking and UBS Multimats. In the case of the hard copy orders UBS easy and UBS easy International and standing order, all of the information printed on the payment part or information that is allowed to be filled in by hand is always forwarded with the payment regardless of whether it is necessary to execute the payment. Handwritten additions (but not crossed-out text) are only allowed if there is a missing amount and/or bill payer “Payable by.”
If the payer doesn’t want this, they can use the alternative payment options UBS Multimat, UBS E-Banking or one-time order. These channels enable the payer to process the information of the bill payer in the payment order and to omit or delete it if necessary. In the UBS Mobile Banking app, the bill payer is only entered by scanning the QR code. However, it will not be possible to edit or delete the bill payer until August 2020.

Ultimate Creditor for payments (future use)

The Ultimate Creditor is the final payee. Although it will not be possible to include and forward this information from the launch date of QR-bill on 30 June 2020, a placeholder is provided for future use of this information in the QR Code. This information can already be included in the file payment with pain.001.
The financial center will decide from which date this information can be delivered with the QR-bill.

If, despite this, this information is included in the QR-bill, the payment will still be made, but this information will not be included. In the case of pain.001 payments, this cannot be prevented.

Manual additions only possible for “Amount” and “Payable by”

For hard copy payment orders, handwritten addition are only allowed for two items of information, should these be missing:

  • Amount
  • Payable by (name/address)

For all other pre-printed information on the QR-bill, handwritten additions for UBS easy, UBS easy international and hard copy standing orders will be ignored. Instead, the payment will be executed with the information as entered on the QR-bill. In certain cases, this can also lead to the payment being rejected. For a one-time order, payments will be made according to the client order.

Costs

No. The QR-bill can be submitted via all existing channels at UBS and the price for the channel selected is then charged.