NACHA -- The Electronic Payments Association and the Council for Electronic Billing and Payment (CEBT) presented a new set of QR code guidelines on January 24, 2013. The QR Encoding for Consumer Bill Pay Guidelines specifically address the use of QR codes in consumer bill payment. These codes are printed on paper invoices and bills to encourage consumers to pay via mobile billing, as opposed to checks or other mailed payments. What Happened Many businesses have begun using QR codes on their paper bills to facilitate mobile electronic bill payment. The customer scans the QR code with their mobile device and is taken to the business's website to pay their bill. The data that businesses include in the code can vary greatly, from a simple web address to a payment form pre-filled with customer data. Related: Visual Communication Solutions for 2013 The new guidelines seek to standardize the codes used by businesses to facilitate electronic bill payment. They establish a single format used for QR codes that consumers scan with their mobile device using a reader or scanner app. The standardization of these codes will provide consumers with greater security and certainty as well as make the user experience more consistent. The intent in placing QR codes on paper bills is to create a bridge between paper and electronic bill payment, eventually enabling businesses to go completely paperless in their billing. What the Rules Are Businesses use QR codes on their paper mailings to perform a number of different functions, including: viewing invoices, enrolling in electronic billing, making electronic payments, and more. The code standards apply to any code that facilitates or incorporates electronic billing. The regulations include: How to size and place the codes on paper bills What data should be included in the code How the data should be laid out in the code These standards provide consumers with greater consistency in how QR codes are presented and what information is included in the QR code landing pages. How it Affects Your Business The QR Encoding for Consumer Bill Pay Guidelines are intended to encourage businesses to utilize QR codes for bill pay. "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 of 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." Implementation of the new QR code standard is voluntary for businesses and act as suggestions for QR code billing best practices. If your business utilizes an online or mobile payment portal, the use of QR codes can increase consumer usage of those portals and decrease both paper check and paper invoices.