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New batch payment screens make paying Australian bills practically painless

Posted 3 years ago in Bookkeepers by Joe Butler
Posted by Joe Butler

Running a business comes with inevitable tasks such as paying bills, a time consuming necessity. Batch payment files enable you to download an ABA file from Xero and upload it to your online banking site, saving you time by paying multiple bills at once. You can then easily send remittance to suppliers and reconcile your payment transactions.

However, this batch payment interface was one of the first features to be built at Xero and was due for a refresh.

As a result, Xero has been working to improve the bill payment process and reduce friction by developing a new user interface, also known as the new bill payments experience. 

The new bill payments experience replaces the old classic batch payment screens and is now live for all Australian Business Edition subscribers. You will see the new experience the next time you enter the batch payment flow.

A look at the new experience

To get started, you’ll need to have your bills entered into Xero. Select your bills on the ‘Bills – Awaiting Payment’ screen and click the ‘Batch Payment’ button. This will take you through to the new payments experience where you can pay up to 200 bills at once. 

Select your payment account and payment method

Select the bank account you want to make the payment from, as well as your preferred payment method. 

To create a batch payment, choose ‘Create a batch payment’. If a payment integration is supported for your bank account, you will also have the option to use this as an alternative payment method.

You can also select a Chart of Account type account with payments enabled by selecting ‘Show other account types’, then selecting the account you want.

It is also still possible to just mark your bills as paid and not download a batch payment file. To just record payments against your bills for past, present or future payment dates, select the ‘Create a batch payment’ payment method. 

Edit your payment details

If there’s a default batch payment reference set on the contact in Xero, this will be used. If this is not available, the invoice reference will be used instead. If neither are available, the field will be left blank.

On this screen, you can edit your payment details before creating the batch, sort by any column, edit references or payment amounts and edit payee account numbers (if you have bank account admin permission).

Review your payment details

After you’ve created your batch or sent your payment details to the bank, a summary of the payments you’ve made will be shown. Click ‘Finish and view batch’ and you’ll be taken to the batch you just created in Xero. 

From the batch transaction, you can export a batch payment file, generate a batch summary report or send remittance emails to your suppliers.

To download a batch payment after paying your bills and leaving the flow, find and view the batch payment from the Bank accounts screen, where you’ll have the option to download a batch payment file again.

Find out more

Xero plans to continually evolve the bills experience and functionality, and we would love to hear any feedback once you’ve had a chance to try the new interface. Please leave a comment and let us know what you think, or complete the short survey which will appear after using the new bill payments experience. 

If you have questions, check out Xero Central for more information about bills and batch payments.


Andrew Purdam
February 5, 2020 at 12.44 pm

Um. You seem to have deleted all the responses that were initially made on this. Most of them were saying how this new change introduced no new functionality, but did introduce extra key clicks and doesn’t fit on narrower screens.
I’d love it if you could respond by fixing the problems described.

TJ Botha
February 10, 2020 at 3.14 am

Is this only for NAB? What about CBA or other banks

Joe Butler in reply to TJ Botha
February 18, 2020 at 1.17 pm

Hi TJ, the new bill payments experience allows you to create batch payment files for any of your accounts, regardless of the bank. This has replaced the old classic batch payment screens and is now live for all Australian Starter, Standard and Premium plan subscribers.

Xero NAB Payments is a new bill payment feature and integration with NAB. It can be selected as an alternative payment method when using a NAB account to pay bills. You can learn more about this feature in this blog post.

Andrew Purdam
February 11, 2020 at 1.09 pm

So is there any improvement in functionality?

Joe Butler in reply to Andrew Purdam
February 18, 2020 at 1.02 pm

Thanks for writing in, Andrew. The short answer to your question is yes.

Xero’s interface for making batch payments was one of the first to be built on the platform. As good as it was, it was unable to support new payment integrations such as Xero NAB Payments and needed a refresh. The new experience retains the functionality needed to download batch payment files for bills while also offering:

* The choice of additional payment methods (e.g., Xero NAB Payments)
* Alerts about potential payment field errors before a payment is processed
* Automatic population of the payee reference field with the reference from a bill
* Bank account fields are split into BSB and account number

We’re continually working to improve the bills experience and functionality of the new interface, so stay tuned!

Kristina Juhl
February 14, 2020 at 3.00 pm

This has really increased the time it takes me to make payment. I see that it is good for users of portable devices, however, for desktop pc users, when movement between keyboard and mouse is minimised, this doesn’t work. What used to be 1 screen to make a payment has now turned in to several screens, each with their own load time, and multiple mouse clicking to get anywhere. A real let down.

Joe Butler in reply to Kristina Juhl
February 18, 2020 at 12.58 pm

Hi, thanks for your feedback, Kristina. You make some good points. We’re always looking to improve our products, and we’ve passed your comments on to our design team.

February 25, 2020 at 1.51 am

I can’t find any explanation of how to use batch payment to record payments I have made from my bank account. Previously I was using batch payment to add up multiple bills for a supplier and then record in Xero in one click that I had made the payment. I don’t want to integrate with my bank account. So all it took was one click on each of the bills from that supplier I wanted to pay, click on bank account, add description and done! I can’t find out how I can do that now.

Joe Butler in reply to Suzanne
March 4, 2020 at 7.07 pm

Hi, Suzanne. It’s still possible to just mark your bills as paid and not download a batch payment file. To just record payments against your bills for past, present or future payment dates, select the ‘Create a batch payment’ payment method.

The functionality resembles the classic batch payments, where payments against your bills will be recorded and a batch transaction created in the Xero bank account you chose to pay from. Hope that helps!

Margaret Thomas
March 13, 2020 at 12.59 pm

Hi ,I dont mind this new feature,but has any work been done on the credit note function,as at the moment
we have to allocate credit notes to invoices before paying creditors,and as we have quite a few credit notes at times
it becomes quite a slow process,it would be nice if you could just tick invs and credit notes in a batch payment
and send off to your suppliers and they also would understand what credit notes you were taking up.Any advice
would be appreciated.

Joe Butler in reply to Margaret Thomas
March 17, 2020 at 4.05 pm

Hi Margaret, thanks for the feedback. At this stage there haven’t been any changes to the credit notes functionality. However we are constantly evaluating Xero’s capabilities and altering the experience based on customers’ needs. More information about how we prioritise product improvements is available in this blog post.

In addition, we encourage you to join the Community discussion and contribute any additional feedback or suggestions you might have.

Catherine Leeson
May 29, 2020 at 11.31 pm

This is so annoying!!! the new feature removes commas so how are you expected to export a batch payment to CSV!!!!! ?????

Beeny Atherton in reply to Catherine Leeson Xero
June 4, 2020 at 1.05 pm

Hi Catherine, we are aware of the issue and are currently investigating to get this fixed as quickly as possible.

June 11, 2020 at 12.37 pm

it would be great if we could do a batch payment that populates the due date for each bill and makes that the transaction date in your banking system

Beeny Atherton in reply to rachel Xero
June 11, 2020 at 4.13 pm

Hi Rachel, thank you so much for your suggestion. I have shared it with my team who are accessing the complete payment flow. If you have any further thoughts or suggestions, please continue to share them with us in the Xero Business Community. Thanks – hope you enjoy the rest of your day.

Jenny Jan
September 2, 2020 at 8.55 am

Would be great if I could download a PDF of all the invoices associated with the batch payment into one file. Then managers, who authorise the bank transaction, can easily review invoices if they wish without having to go into Xero.

Beeny Atherton in reply to Jenny Jan Xero
September 3, 2020 at 12.28 pm

Hi Jenny, thanks so much for your comment. We appreciate that this is a need and are currently looking into a solution so please watch this space. Thanks!

March 31, 2021 at 8.16 pm

Can’t edit the reference fields so if the bank doesn’t like it you can’t use this feature at all.

Beeny Atherton in reply to Mathew Xero
April 7, 2021 at 12.33 pm

Hi Mathew, thanks for getting in touch and I’m sorry to hear that you are experiencing an issue. Can you please confirm which reference fields you are having some trouble with? Are you also able to let us know which bank and payment method you are referring to? For example, are you creating a batch payment file or making a NAB payment? Finally, are you able to share what the error message says that you are getting from your bank? Knowing this information will help us identify what may be going on here so we can give you a hand. Thanks!

Sam Dodds
April 19, 2021 at 1.57 pm

Hi, When making a batch payment (as an admin) do I still need to upload the aba file via my internet banking or is Xero integrated with my bank (BOQ)?

Beeny Atherton in reply to Sam Dodds Xero
May 6, 2021 at 3.24 pm

Hi Sam, unfortunately we don’t have an integration with Bank of Queensland (BOQ) so yes, you will still need to upload the ABA file directly into your online banking after downloading.

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