Seamlessly Into the Digital Future
The Digitization of Payments in Switzerland
Switzerland is in the premier league as far as competitiveness is concerned. Digitization is making a crucial contribution to this. It is taking place in many areas of business and society – including payment transactions. This is of major significance in turn for the economy as a whole. In particular, payments support all national and international business transactions and so make a material contribution to Switzerland’s economic output.
Payments can only be processed seamlessly at all times if existing schemes, processes, formats and slips are simplified, unified or replaced. The introduction of the QR-bill, which is gradually replacing all payment slips from 30 June 2020, will make an important contribution to the ongoing digitization of payments.
What Has Happened to Date?
In mid-2018, the different standards, schemes and formats used by Swiss banks for credit transfers were harmonized with the help of international standards. Beforehand, customers, software companies and banks had worked hand in hand for years to help ensure that the switch could take place punctually and smoothly. Since then, the fact that the processing of each credit transfer is completely automated along the entire process chain from the customer via the banks to the market infrastructure without any manual intervention has been guaranteed. This is the precondition for digitizing other payment methods based on credit transfers.
Minimizing Media Disruptions
The processing of payments on invoice, such as those involving the current orange payment slip, is not completely automated. There are too many media disruptions in the entire process chain, which makes the payment processing slower, error-prone and therefore inefficient. The payment software used by invoice issuers generates paper invoices which need to be reentered into e-banking manually by the clients. Digital information is put on paper only to be subsequently digitized by the client. Given the ongoing transformation of business processes, this is no longer up-to-date.
More Efficient Processing – More Precision – Less Effort
Next step in the future of payment transactions is the implementation of the QR-bill. It is gradually replacing all payment slips. The QR code in the payment section contains far more information than is currently the case for existing payment slips. For example, in the case of payments with a reference number, also name, account number and address of the initiating party will now be forwarded to the creditor bank being liable for meeting regulatory requirements. Moreover, the QR-bill automates crucial processes. Information needed for payment can simply be scanned with a smartphone or scanner and released for payment in e-banking and m-banking with one click. The manual effort will therefore substantially be reduced also for clients and erroneous entries can thereby be avoided almost in full.
A Step Into the Seamless Digital Future
With the QR-bill, it is still possible to make payments at the post office counter and by mail. eBill goes much further by minimizing the latest media disruptions and digitizing the entire value chain from invoicing to payment: the invoice issuers can send invoices directly and safely in e-banking and m-banking of their clients. The clients check all data online and release an invoice for payment by clicking a button. eBill therefore simplifies all processes and focuses fully on a paper-free and digital client experience. In turn, the QR-bill builds bridges between the paper-based and digital world. As invoice issuers can enable their customers to convert the QR-bill into a digital invoice via eBill. These two innovations will boost Swiss business and society as a whole and contribute to its future global competitiveness.