Frequently asked questions
The payment part with Swiss QR Code is replacing the currently used payment slips. Does that mean that physical payment instructions can no longer be submitted at banks or that payments cannot be made at post office counters?
No, it will continue to be possible to submit physical payment instructions via the bank or to make deposits at the post office counter. The Swiss QR Code will, however, promote dissemination of electronic processes; i.e. they will become increasingly established.
The current forms of the payment slip will be replaced by the Swiss QR Code and thus disappear. Will you only be able to pay with QR-bills in the future?
Yes, after a transition period, which is yet to be defined, payments will only be possible using the payment part.
What is going to happen with the currently used blank payment slips?
The Swiss Post will offer a solution, which enables pay-ins to be made in the same way as with the blank payment slip. The solution is currently being drafted. The blank payment slip can be used until the parallel phase is completed.
As of when can the current payment slips no longer be used?
The parallel use of the current red and orange payment slips and the QR-bill payment part will be possible during a transition period. No end-date regarding use of the red and orange slips has yet been set by the Swiss financial center.
The banks are setting a fast pace. How is it being assured that companies will be involved on time and will be ready?
The financial institutions are supporting their customers during the migration and have worked closely together with the software industry for several years to ensure that updates will be available on time. Numerous ERP software vendors have already launched software modules and are actively committed to the timely and successful switchover.
QR-bill with payment part
Is one free to decide whether to use the payment part?
After a parallel operation phase, which shall be kept as brief as possible, the currently used orange and red payment slips will no longer be processed.
Can the QR-bill be freely designed?
Yes, for the payment part of the QR-bill the "Swiss Implementation Guidelines QR-bill" must be adhered to while doing so.
Is a perforation possible on a QR-bill between the bill and the payment part?
Perforation of the payment part is mandatory if the QR-bill is to be printed out and mailed.
Is there a measurement and design template for the payment part?
The specifications were relaxed in comparison with the current payment slips. The "Swiss Implementation Guidelines QR-bill" are to be adhered to in the process. Measurement and design templates for the QR-bill are available as assistance/support.
Which currencies can be used with the payment part?
Swiss francs and euro.
The currency code CHF or EUR must be printed on the payment part beneath the Swiss QR Code and to the left of the amount field.
What values can be used in the "reference" field?
Permitted in the "Reference" field are the 27-digit QR reference (formerly the ISR reference number) or the up to 25-digit alphanumeric Creditor Reference according to the ISO 11649 standard. The QR-IBAN is used with the QR reference and the IBAN with the Creditor Reference.
How/Where can information about the payment purpose be provided? Or is that no longer planned for?
The "Payment purpose" and "Message" field headings currently used on the inpayment slips are being replaced by the "Additional information" field in the payment part, which is comprised of up to 140 characters. The information used there must be printed on the payment part of the Swiss QR code in block letters. There are no longer any blank fields for the biller.
Can advertising by placed on the payment part?
No. Advertising is neither permitted on the payment part nor on the reverse side.
How can a biller without a software solution produce a payment part with Swiss QR Code himself? What can he use to do so?
The financial center provides the following aids for this purpose:
- A simple browser-based solution for generating the payment part with a Swiss QR Code for individuals and companies that do not have a software solution (shortly before the introduction of the QR-bill). The payment part may be printed either in A6 format or in A4 format (the payment part then at the bottom right), when based on a complete QR-bill
- Tool for calculating the IBANs is available at iban.ch
- Platform for the Swiss QR Code validation
What requirements must be met for the introduction of the payment part with Swiss QR Code?
- Migration of all the financial institution's payment traffic applications and their customers to the new ISO 20022 message standard according to the Swiss recommendations.
- Availability of suitable infrastructure for billers and payers, such as printers and scanners that can print and read QR codes.
- Provision of the channels for the payment traffic.
- Migration of electronic reportings to camt.
Can handwritten additions be made to the payment part after it has been printed?
The name and address of the payer, along with the amount, can be added in handwriting. No handwritten additions are possible in the message field.
Payment part of the QR-bill
How can the payment part of the QR-bill be used?
- As a component of the bill on paper
- As a paper enclosure to the bill
- As in integral component of an e-mail bill (PDF format)
Is there an obligation to test and approve the payment part in A6 format by a financial institution?
- There is no obligation for the biller. The payment part will only be tested if the biller or the financial institution explicitly requests or requires this.
- An incorrectly printed Swiss QR Code can cause processing problems. Such payment parts can be rejected.
- A Web solution for validation of the correct content of the Swiss QR Code will be made available.
Can the payment part be used for paper-based payment instructions?
Yes, as is customary today with red and orange payment slips, in future, the payment part of the QR-bill can be enclosed with a payment instruction in paper form.
How can the payment part be used for online services?
With the payment information contained in the Swiss QR Code, payments can also be initiated in e- or m-banking, or alternative payment methods such as eBill or TWINT.
Can the QR-bill with payment part in PDF format be used at post office counters and postal agencies?
The payment part must be separated from the QR-bill. The payment part can then be used to pay at post office counters and at postal agencies.
Can the QR-bill with payment part in PDF format be used for paper-based payment instructions at the bank?
The payment part must be separated from the QR-bill. A credit transfer instruction on paper can be attached to the payment part.
QR code as data carrier
What information is contained in the Swiss QR Code?
The QR code contains all relevant information about the creditor and debtor, amount, currency, etc. A complete listing can be found in the "Swiss Implementation Guidelines QR-bill".
Will people without technical skills be disadvantaged by the introduction of the Swiss QR Code?
No. As is the case today, it will be possible to enter payment instructions in e-/m-banking and to submit bills at the post office counter/postal agencies or as payment instructions at the bank.
Will the Swiss QR Code limit the use of current payment traffic channels?
No. All payment traffic channels can continue to be used. On the payment part, all the information therein will also be printed so that it can be read with the naked eye; i.e. without technical aids. In this way, payments can continue to be entered manually without the need for additional infrastructure, such as in e-/m-banking. The same information is also contained in the QR code. This enables payers to enter them automatically. In private households this will be primarily possible through the use of banking apps on smart phones. Some 78% of the Swiss population already own such an end device today. Payers with larger bill volumes will use a document reader or scanner that supports the QR code to enable this automation.
Is there a central library for generating a Swiss QR Code?
Every ERP software publisher and each bank has its preferred programming language on their preferred operating system. The financial center has decided against a central library because there are enough established open source or licensed libraries for generating QR codes on the market.
This simple code example in Java 1.7, which was created using the widely-used ZXing open source library, shows how a Swiss QR Code can be generated.
How do I integrate the Swiss cross in the Swiss QR Code?
To integrate the Swiss cross, you only need to overlay the QR code, centered, with the appropriate image – respecting the proper and length and width ratios.
This simple code example in Java 1.7 which was created using the widely used ZXing open source library, provides support for generating the Swiss QR Code.
In the Swiss QR Code, the character series CR + LF (0x0d + 0x0a) is used as as separator for the individual data elements. Can only the character CR (or LF) be used instead?
The character series CR + LF was specified to be able to ensure the maximum size of the QR code – regardless of the hardware platform or code library used. The use of CR or LF alone, however, is also possible, since it thereby does not result in a exceeding the maximum size of the Swiss QR Code.
May the element separator used (CR + LF / LF or CR) also be used within a data element (e.g. line return in "Additional information")?
No. The separator may only be delivered at the end, not within a data element.
Does the element separator used in the Swiss QR Code be considered in the maximum character count of an element?
No. The information pertaining to the maximum character count always relates to the net data without element separators.
Procedure with structured reference (ISR procedure)
Why is the QR-IBAN being used for identification of the procedure with structured reference?
A successor structure to the ISR participant number had to be designed due to the regulatory requirements for the new design and the decision to exclusively use the creditor’s account number in IBAN format in Switzerland on the QR-bill. After reviewing several options, it turned out that the high rate of automation necessary can only be ensured using a special IBAN, the QR-IBAN.
Is straight-through processing of the reference number ensured?
Yes, the reference number (QR reference number or Creditor Reference) will be transported end-to-end by the financial system.
As a biller, do I need to do something to use the procedure with structured reference?
Yes, depending on your needs and business processes. Please contact your software partner and your financial institution so that the issuing of QR-bills can be ensured.
Will ISR credit files that a bank customer currently receives to reconcile incoming payments also be replaced and, if so, with what
Delivery of the data from a QR code can only take place completely with ISO 20022 messages. With the introduction of the Swiss QR Code, camt-based credit records were also introduced. Please contact your software partner and your financial institution so that you can receive the preferred camt files and use them with your software solution.
Payments at the post office counter
Can the payment part of the QR-bill be used for cash pay-ins at post office counters?
Yes. The payment part of the QR-bill with receipt can also be used for payments at post office counters and postal agencies.