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Invoicer services

Banks have developed common services and standards to facilitate invoicing and payments processing at businesses. Many of the standards are international, some are only used in Finland.

Finnish companies can choose between the Finnish creditor reference standard and the Global Structured Creditor Reference (RF Creditor Reference, ISO 11649) to identify the invoices they send to customers. With the creditor reference, the invoicer can monitor invoicing and match incoming payments automatically. The invoicer receives the remittance information in a transaction list that is, depending on the creditor reference used in the invoice, based on the Finnish standard or on the ISO20022. The sum total of payments is shown on the account and account statement.

RF Creditor Reference numbers are in Finland formed on the basis of the Finnish creditor reference. This means businesses can switch to using the global RF Creditor Reference at their own pace, because it can be stripped down to a Finnish creditor reference whenever a specific system of service requires it. For more information, see the Guidelines for the Implementation of the Global Structured Creditor Reference.

Finvoice is a generally used electronic invoicing format published by Finnish banks. The Finvoice forwarding service is built around the Finvoice message format. The buyer receives the invoice in electronic format, and transfers the information to its own accounting systems. Each invoice can be directly matched with its order on the basis of its reference. E-invoice data can be transmitted using bank connection software, similarly to payment materials, or through e-invoice operators who provide forwarding services. The Finvoice format also supports consumer invoicing. It includes an online banking link, through which the consumer can examine the attachments (e.g. itemization) of the e-invoice. See the Finvoice website for more detailed information.

A company that sends e-invoices can also offer direct payment service to its customers. Direct payment is a service designed to enable recurring payments for consumers who do not use online banking services. The consumer gives a direct payment mandate to the bank, and the bank executes the payment on the due date of the invoice. The invoicer mails the payer an invoice that contains the direct payment details, and also includes a digital copy of the invoice with the e-invoicing materials it sends to the bank.

Including a standard credit transfer form with the paper invoice facilitates payment. The payer can find all the necessary information quickly on the form. Credit transfer forms can also be scanned and read optically.

Companies that use creditor reference in their invoicing can print a bank bar code on the credit transfer form. The bar code always includes the beneficiary's account number and creditor reference, while some also contain the payable amount and due date. There are two bar code versions in use: one with the IBAN, and another with both IBAN and RF creditor reference.

The Quick Response (QR) code was added to the credit transfer form in 2014 based on EPC recommendation. It will gradually replace the bank bar code, but for now the two formats are in use side by side. The QR code can be used in invoicing regardless of whether the invoice contains a creditor reference or a plaintext message.

Online payment is a safe electronic service for companies that sell products or services over the Internet. After a customer has finished shopping online, they can select online payment as the payment method. Without interrupting the session, the customer is then transferred to their own bank's online service, where they can make the payment from their own account. The payment uses the same security solutions as online banking. The originator's banking details are not displayed to the seller, and no third parties have reading or modifying access to the transmitted data. The seller's details are also verified with a specific security code. The seller must form an online payment contract separately with each bank. Implementation of the service requires that the company is capable of generating the online payment data and an electronic invoice for the customer.

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