User Testing for the QR-Bill

User Testing for the QR-Bill

The QR-bill will change the way companies do their invoicing and customers can pay them. The familiar red and orange payment slips will be replaced from mid-2020. In the middle of November this year, PaymentStandards.CH presented its revised QR-bill to the public. The most eye-catching change was the receipt. A practice run garnered generally positive and constructive feedback.

Switzerland is taking a key step toward digitalization by introducing the QRbill. The payment slips still in use today will be steadily replaced by the payment part with Swiss QR Code and receipt that can be integrated into a QR-bill.

Recently, PaymentStandards.CH presented an updated version of the QR-bill, which now includes a receipt as well. The catalyst behind this addition was an intensive discussion that was held among numerous user groups and resulted in a wide-scale consultation process this fall. The time remaining until the first QR-bills are sent out on 30 June 2020 will be used for technical modifications at banks, software providers, post offices and corporate clients.

Practice test for QR-bills

In order to ensure customers feel convenient with the QR-bills right from the start, they must be intuitive and easy to understand. A practice run focusing on how users interacted with QR-bills provided some insight. Several test subjects of varying age, gender, geographical area and educational background tested five different versions of the QR-bill. The assignment: “You are sitting in front of a pile of mail that has been building up over the past few days and weeks. Please sort through it.” Next step: “Prepare your payments like you would normally do.” Without any prior instructions, they set to work while being filmed and were asked over the loudspeaker by the test leader to “think aloud.” 

The verdict: “easy to use”

All test persons more or less immediately understood that they could use the QR-bill to make payments in exactly the same way as they now use payment slips and completed the payment section easily. Some people didn’t even seem to notice the changes at first, as was later discovered in the follow-up interviews. The comments of the test subjects can be summarized as follows: nothing “earth-shattering”, “pretty much the same as before”, “easy to use” or “like the old payment slip, just a little less familiar”.

But it was not quite perfect. The majority of test subjects found the title "Zahlteil QR-Rechnung" (German for QR-bill payment part) was unnecessarily long. The desire for a friendlier term for “Zahlungspflichtiger” (debtor) was also expressed. The word “Zahler” (payer)  was suggested. Nor did the test subjects always completely fill out the corresponding blank space. This is why our usability specialists suggested that we add “name, address” to the term “payer”. The relevant bodies in the Swiss financial center used the feedback from the test persons to make the following changes to the text, among other things: “Payment part” instead of “QR-bill payment part”, “Payable by (name/address)” rather than “Debtor” and “Payable to” instead of “Creditor”.

Another interesting find from the usability tests is related to the numerous handwritten variations of the amount: “50.-”, “50.00”, “50.00 –”, “50”, “Fr. 50.”, “50 Fr.”. Many of these entries were also written slightly outside of the crop mark. The question is how many of these variations can be automatically captures in the banks’ document processing centers. 

Positive response

The consumer practice test was just part of a consultation process aimed at four different user groups. There was plenty of feedback. A lot of participants appreciated the opportunity for dialog and made comments about and gave explanations for their position and answers. The public survey, for example, had over 200 market participants, which was twice as many as a similar survey conducted by the EU in connection with SEPA.


Find more information about the QR-bill