ATM operators who offer bill payment at their machines — or plan to — should take note of newly released guidelines for the use of QR codes for bill payment purposes. The guidelines were developed by NACHA — The Electronic Payments Association's Council for Electronic Billing and Payment, and were finalized following industry input.

The QR Encoding for Consumer Bill Pay Guidelines set out voluntary standards for using QR codes in both biller direct and consolidator/aggregator billing and payment models. The guidelines include recommendations for QR code size, included data, and data layout in the code.

The hope is that the guidelines will help to establish the format for a standardized QR code that a consumer can scan with a smartphone, using a biller, mobile banking or generic reader, the council said. The result would be certainty for biller and banking clients, and a consistent experience for the consumer.

"With the help of the industry, the CEBP has been able to develop a clear, implementable standard for the use of QR codes in consumer bill payment," said Chris Huppert, senior vice president at Wells Fargo and chair of the CEBP. "It is our hope that these standards will help encourage QR code use for bill pay, and ultimately provide an easy option for check writers to view and pay bills electronically."

For more information about the QR Encoding for Consumer Bill Pay Guidelines, visit the CEBP QR code resource page. Billers, biller service providers, FIs and payment providers interested in participating in a planned test for early adopters should contact Robert Unger at NACHA by March 1.

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