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Deposit Slips in Switzerland Explained

What types of deposit slips are used in Switzerland? What are they used for and how can they help you? How should you correctly fill out a Swiss deposit slip? Find clear explanations in this moneyland.ch guide.

Deposit slips are bank orders which are used to make deposits into bank accounts. They are widely used for the billing of customers and the payment of bills in Switzerland. Deposit slips can also be used to deposit money into accounts held by individuals. In addition to the use of deposit slips at bank tills and in online banking, the Swiss post office provides a deposit slip service by which it accepts and processes deposits into all Swiss bank accounts from post office counters.

Two types of deposit slips are currently used. Deposit slips with reference numbers (abbreviated as ESR in German or BVR in French) are commonly used for mail billing. These are popularly known as orange deposit slips after their color (they were printed in blue until 1998). Deposit slips without reference numbers (abbreviated as ES in German or BV in French) are primarily used for deposits into private bank accounts. These are popularly known as red deposit slips after their color (green before 1998). Both of these deposit slips are also available in electronic form as part of the online banking services provided with many private accounts and business accounts.

Deposit slips with reference numbers explained:

  • Abbreviation: ESR/BVR with sub-types BESR/BVRB and VESR/SBVR.
  • Physical and electronic slips have an orange color theme.
  • Each deposit must include a reference number which allows for automatic processing. Information relating to the amount being deposited, the identification number, the invoice number and the depositors name and address is included in the reference number.
  • It is not possible to add personal notes – the purpose of payment, for example – to deposit slips with reference numbers. Deposit slips without reference numbers (red slips), on the other hand, provide a field for this purpose.
  • Deposit slips with reference numbers are suitable for large transactions because the use of reference numbers helps to prevent errors.  
  • There are two types of deposit slips with reference numbers (orange slips):
    BESR/BVRB: These deposit slips with reference numbers are provided by banks for deposits at the till.
    VESR/SBVR: These deposit slips with reference numbers are provided by the Swiss post office for deposits at the counter.

Deposit slips without reference numbers explained:

  • Abbreviation: ES/BV.
  • Using these deposit slips does not require the use of a reference number. Only the details of the account into which the deposit is being made are required.
  • Personal notes (e.g. reason for payment) can be entered into a field provided for that purpose. These notes appear on recipients’ bank statements.
  • Deposit slips without reference numbers are best suited to smaller transactions.

Filling out deposit slips with reference numbers:

  • Account details: The recipient’s bank account details must be clearly entered into the corresponding field.
  • Amount to be deposited: The amount of money to be deposited must be entered clearly in the relevant field. Take care to observe the decimal spaces and to enter centime amounts to the right of the decimal point.
  • Denominating currency: Pay attention to the denominating currency of the account into which you are making the deposit. Foreign currency exchange costs may apply when you make a deposit in a currency other than the currency which denominates the account.
  • Reference number: If the reference number is not already entered, make sure to enter the reference number into the corresponding field. If you are using online banking to pay a bill which you received as a physical deposit slip, enter the reference number provided on the physical deposit slip.  
  • When you are billed by E-billing, all necessary information is filled in automatically.

Filling in deposit slips without reference numbers:

  • Account details: Enter the details of the account into which you are depositing money in the corresponding field.
  • Amount to be deposited: The amount of money to be deposited must be clearly written in the relevant field. Take care to enter centime amounts to the right of the decimal point.
  • Personal Note: If you would like to include a personal note (e.g. reason for payment), enter this into the corresponding field.
  • Denominating currency: Pay attention to the denominating currency of the account into which you are making the deposit. Foreign currency exchange costs may apply when you make a deposit in a currency other than the currency which denominates the account.

Using postal deposit slips:

  • Making deposits into Swiss bank accounts at Swiss post offices is generally free of charge for the person making the deposit. However, the recipient pays a fee for the service provided by the post office (much like recipients of debit card and credit card payments pay merchant fees). Higher fees are charged for deposits made using deposit slips without reference numbers (red slips) than for deposits made using deposit slips with reference numbers (orange slips).

Revised deposit slip

As of 2018, a new deposit slip has been introduced which replaces both the orange and the red deposit slips. Both deposit slips without reference numbers and deposit slips with reference numbers are still being accepted until June 2020, at which point they will be fully phased out and replaced by the new deposit slip.

The new deposit slip contains a QR code and requires the use of IBAN account numbers. Conventional bank account details cannot be entered onto the new deposit slip. It can be used to deposit money into both Swiss bank accounts and bank accounts in countries which participate in the SEPA banking agreement.

A moneyland.ch guide.

More information:
Swiss private account comparison
Swiss banking bundle comparison
Swiss business account comparison

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