What is eBill and How Does it Work?

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In this article I’ll be talking about eBill, the digital invoice solution supported by an increasing number of banks in Switzerland. And earlier this year, Zak announced support for eBill – which is great news!

For the regular readers of the blog, you’ll know I’m an active user of many Swiss online banks. I’ve rated Zak very highly in my dedicated review and continue to use their app – so it’s great to see they have strengthened their offering further with the arrival of eBill support.

Before we cover the details on setting this up in your Zak account, lets first recap on what exactly is eBill, how it works, and what it means for you with your ‘day to day’ money management.

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I’ve outlined some of the top questions & answers concerning eBill in this blog post, so let’s get started.

What is eBill?

eBill enables you to receive and pay your bills directly within your online banking app (like Zak) instead of via PDF or post. Using eBill makes paying bills faster and less error prone, gives an extra layer of security and is very easy to use.

Who created eBill?

eBill was created by SIX payment solutions to support the digitalization of payments in Switzerland. Over 90 banks are using eBill in Switzerland today, and many vendors offer it as a payment option.

How does eBill work?

In order to get eBill to work you need to first activate the option in your online banking.

You get to review the eBill in your banking app before confirming it, so you still have full control over the payment (unlike a direct debit) and can reject it if needed. The nice thing is everything is prefilled, so there is no need to scan or enter additional details – just check the amount and confirm the payment once you are happy.

How do I activate eBill with Zak?

With Zak, just click the ‘+’ icon bottom right from any screen and scroll down to ‘Plugins’, then tap ‘eBill’ halfway down the list. You’ll then be taken to a screen to activate the plugin to use it for future invoices.

Once you’ve activated the plugin, you need to register with eBill as shown below. Your email address should be prefilled (based on your Zak registration details):

Ok done!

Now you can tap ‘Rechnungssteller hinzufügen’ to select the merchant you want to enable for eBill:

You’ll then see a list of available merchants, just enter your details on the next screen and you are all set:

You can also use the search function if you can’t find a merchant.

Once completed, when you go back to your main Zak screen you’ll see eBill listed as an option under the transfers screen, as shown below:

From here you can view and edit your existing eBill settings.

What information is on an eBill?

The information you see is exactly the same as traditional paper or PDF invoices, which includes items such as the issuer, amount and due date.

How much does an eBill cost?

In general, there are no costs to receive and pay via eBill in your online banking – Zak e.g. offers eBill for free. The merchants supporting eBill do have to pay CHF 0.50 per eBill – which they could (in theory) pass onto the consumer, which won’t break the bank – but something you might want to check. But in most cases the vendor takes the cost.

eBill vs direct debit, what’s the difference?

Once setup and authorised to do so, a direct debit will enable a vendor to automatically debit the money from your account.

An eBill on the other hand, requires your approval, giving you control on when (and if) the invoice is paid. You can also enable automatic payments of eBills like a direct debit from selected vendors (e.g. your monthly Swisscom bill) to streamline the process further.

What are some of the benefits of using eBill?

There are many compared to traditional invoices. For example, you’ll save time as you won’t have to manually enter the invoice details, reference numbers and CHF amounts – reducing typos and errors when you pay bills.

Also, as only verified vendors & merchants can use eBill, you can be confident you are paying genuine invoices and dealing with the correct merchant. And lastly don’t forget – reducing the amount of post and paper!

Closing thoughts

Those are main points concerning eBill – I hope this blog post helped you get up to speed.

As outlined above, enabling eBill is quick and easy, particularly with Zak which takes literally a couple of taps within the app to get started.

Give it a go and let me know in the comments below how you get on.

Thanks for reading

Mr. IH

🎁 Reader Bonus: I’ve partnered with Zak to bring Investing Hero readers (that’s you!) a 50CHF welcome bonus when you open a free account. No strings attached and no BS. Just use the code HEROCH to claim your 50 bucks.

About me

I’m a British expat who’s been living in Switzerland for the last 10 years. I’m a digital marketing professional by day, and anonymous investing blogger by night. I cover investing basics, robo advisor reviews and epic how to guides. You can call me ‘Mr. IH’ for short, and read more about me here.

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