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Upgrading the bill payments experience in Xero (UK only)

Posted 1 year ago in Product by Richard Considine

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 Pay with TransferWise in the UK and needed a refresh. As a result, we have been working to improve bill payments and reduce friction by developing a new payments interface. 

The new bill payments experience replaces the old classic batch payment screens and will gradually be rolled out to all UK businesses on Starter, Standard and Premium plans during the first half of 2020. You might see the new experience the next time you enter the batch payment flow.

What will the new experience offer? 

  • A more #beautiful experience
  • Onboard with our payment partner (TransferWise) without leaving the payments flow
  • The choice of multiple payment methods (including Pay with TransferWise)
  • Alert to potential payment field errors before a payment is processed

The new interface is easier and more intuitive to use; it has simplified the flow for creating batch payments, while retaining the functionality needed to download batch payment files for bills.

Let’s take a look at the new experience

Start by entering your bills into Xero. Select your bills on the Bills – Awaiting Payment screen and click the ‘Make Payment’ button. This will take you through to the new payments experience where you can pay up to 200 bills at any one time.


Confirm the number of bills you wish to pay.


Select your payment account and payment method

Select the bank account you want to make the payment from. Payment details remain read only until the payment account and payment method are selected.

You can also select Chart of Account-type accounts with payments enabled under ‘Other accounts’.

Select your preferred payment method. To create a batch payment choose ‘Create a payment file’. 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 ‘Mark as paid’. 

If you’ve added Pay with TransferWise to your Xero subscription this will also appear as an alternative 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 bill reference will be used instead. If neither are available, the field will be left blank.

On this screen, you can sort by column as well as edit references, payment amounts and payee account numbers (if you have the bank account admin permission) before you create the batch payment.

View summary report and remittance

You will see a summary of the payments once you’ve created your payment. From the batch transaction, you can export a batch 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 improve the bills experience and functionality, and we would love to hear any feedback once you’ve had a chance to try out the new interface. Please leave a comment, or complete the short survey which will appear after using the new bill payments experience for the first time. 

If you have any other questions, check out Xero Central for more information about bills and payment files.


May 27, 2020 at 6.29 pm

This is great, but it looks like you still have not fixed the issue whereby the Bacs payment file takes the description into the “To Appear on Contact’s Bank Statement” field instead of the reference. Suppliers always want the reference (ie their invoice number) in the payee reference field. So I always have to manually amend every single payment. This drives me INSANE and is the only thing I really hate about Xero. But I hate it every single week at payment run time. Please fix this! Or if I am doing something wrong please post an article as I have seen other users on Xero Central with the same problem.

Beeny Atherton in reply to Michelle Xero
May 28, 2020 at 10.50 pm

Hi Michelle – thanks so much for your feedback, which I have passed on to my team who are currently investigating to see what can be done here.

Justin Perry
May 28, 2020 at 8.30 am

Batch file doesn’t work for payments and is totally unuseable as the file is in CSV format which removes leading zeros from the sort code making the bank detials inaccurate. Needs some work this.

Beeny Atherton in reply to Justin Perry Xero
May 28, 2020 at 10.52 pm

Hi Justin, thanks for your comment and sorry to hear that you are having some trouble here. I have let my team know and they are looking into the issue and will endeavour to get this fixed as a priority. Thanks!

May 29, 2020 at 9.15 pm

Has the issue of not being able to include credit notes in batch payments been resolved with this update.?

Beeny Atherton in reply to Lisa Xero
June 4, 2020 at 12.49 pm

Hi Lisa, I recommend taking a look at this article on Xero Central, which may help you with adding a supplier credit note in Xero. If you need further help, please raise a case with our support team who will be able to give you a hand. Thanks!

Vicky Mayne
June 5, 2020 at 12.41 am

This is one of my bugbears.

Beeny Atherton in reply to Vicky Mayne Xero
June 8, 2020 at 11.20 am

Hi Vicky, if you need a hand – can you please raise a case with our support team who’ll be able to help. Thanks!

John French
May 29, 2020 at 10.59 pm

Hate the new system, clumsy and time consuming. would prefer to opt out of this method

Beeny Atherton in reply to John French Xero
June 2, 2020 at 9.36 am

Hi John, I’m so sorry to hear that but thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us. I have passed your feedback on to my team.

Susan Scott in reply to Beeny Atherton
July 28, 2020 at 10.35 pm

I agree with John French. It’s far more time consuming to do a batch payment now and very clumsy. The old way may not have been ideal but the new way has not improved it, in fact it’s just made it worse.

Beeny Atherton in reply to Susan Scott Xero
July 29, 2020 at 9.32 pm

Hi Susan, thanks so much for sharing your feedback with us. I have passed your thoughts on to my team.

Tracy Todman
May 29, 2020 at 11.36 pm

THe “old” batch payment automatically brought in the sort code and account number from standing info for the Contacts .
The “new” batch payment doesn’t and seems to expect me to enter it manually every time.
This is not an improvement and is not “beautiful” in any shape or form.
How do I use the old style batch payments please? I need to do my month end payments and do not have the time or inclination to populate all of the payee bank details manually.

Tracy Todman
May 30, 2020 at 1.05 am

Update: Ok- have found a supplier where the bank details do show, but the sort code and account number are run together making it really difficult to discern which is which. This needs improvement. 14 small digits all in a row are not easy to read

Beeny Atherton in reply to Tracy Todman Xero
June 2, 2020 at 12.46 pm

Hi Tracy, thanks so much for your comment and sorry to hear that you’re having some trouble. Our team is aware of the issue and is currently investigating. We’ll endeavour to get this fixed as a priority.

Chu Li
June 5, 2020 at 12.45 am

I have not tried this new method of payment. I know this will be used for one of my client.

1) Do they need to upgrade there package to get it paid direct from the bank account?
2) Can I run a csv report to import this across to the bank to get payments made?

Thank You!

Beeny Atherton in reply to Chu Li Xero
June 9, 2020 at 12.40 pm

Hi Chu Li – thanks for your questions. I recommend taking a look at how to manage your bill payments more efficiently using Pay with TransferWise. It explains the process in more detail and should hopefully answer your questions.

April Rawlins
June 5, 2020 at 8.20 am

How do you go about this if you pay by cheque and not do a BACS or bank transfer? I don’t know the bank account details to a few suppliers as I pay by cheque.

Beeny Atherton in reply to April Rawlins Xero
June 9, 2020 at 12.42 pm

Hi April, you simply need to mark the bill as paid (either individually in each bill, or at a batch level via the bill payment process), then pay your suppliers by cheque outside of Xero as per your current processes. Hope this helps. Thanks for your comment!

Vicky Sullivan
June 6, 2020 at 6.13 am

Your payments system is a nightmare – I moved over from Sage – making payments in Xero takes up a ridiculous amount of time.
I need the summary on the make payment screen to summarise the payments to each company – not give me a list of invoices – how do I check it against the statement to make sure it is right – without getting a calculator out? So I have to do it individually and then Xero needs to include the invoice numbers in the reference and once the payment has been made – IT NEEDS TO TAKE ME BACK TO THE MAKE PAYMENTS SCREEN SO THAT I CAN MAKE ANOTHER PAYMENT.
This has to be the slowest, clunkiest way of paying people possible – there must be a better way.

Beeny Atherton in reply to Vicky Sullivan Xero
June 8, 2020 at 11.14 am

Hi Vicky, sorry to hear that you’re not having a beautiful experience with Xero at the moment. Can you please raise a case with our support team here so we can give you a hand directly? Thanks so much!

Beeny Atherton in reply to Vicky Sullivan Xero
June 9, 2020 at 12.47 pm

Hi Vicky, I have followed up my team in regards to your comment, and they advise searching/filtering for a specific supplier on the Awaiting Payment screen then selecting all and hitting the Make Payment button. By doing that, only the bills for a specific supplier will be shown in the bill payment flow, which will also include the total of these specific bills. Hope that helps.

June 19, 2020 at 5.44 am

Interesting – shame this is not available in the Demo Company to have a play with first. Your explanation above could do with an overview of the difference between the ‘mark as paid’ and ‘create a payment file’ options, as I can guarantee junior team members will get into a muddle with that. Ditto the Bank account field – can see the company’s own bank details being added to that rather than the supplier’s! Relabel the Field name? Can you also make the screenshots above clickable to take you to a larger version?

Beeny Atherton in reply to Dusty Xero
June 22, 2020 at 2.57 pm

Hi Dusty, thank you so much for sharing your feedback with us – we always love to hear how we can make things more beautiful, especially here on the Xero Blog. I will pass your suggestions on to the rest of my team.

Vanessa Steen
June 29, 2020 at 10.57 pm

With the ‘old’ way of making payments, I used to select the invoices required, make a ‘Batch payment’, select the payment date and send remittances. Selecting the payment date marked the invoices as ‘Paid’ but they were still available to match to the bank statement during the bank reconciliation (our bank statements are uploaded automatically every evening).
Now, however, whether I choose ‘Create a payment file’ or ‘Mark as paid’, once I click on ‘Finish and view batch’ the invoices are marked ‘paid’ and I can no longer select the invoices during the bank rec, which means I end up having to reverse the payment every time in order for the invoices to be available to match to the payments showing on our bank statement.
So, I appear to have two choices; 1 – not select any invoices for payment at all, so that I can actually match them to the bank statement, which also means that I would not be able to send remittances until after the bank rec or, 2 – select the invoices for payment, send remittances, then reverse the payment so the invoices are available to match to the bank rec (as I am doing now).
I am not impressed with this ‘improved’ version of payments – It’s not an improvement at all!

Beeny Atherton in reply to Vanessa Steen Xero
July 1, 2020 at 8.59 am

Hi Vanessa, thanks so much for reaching out to us. If you go to each of the bills in Awaiting Payment, click through on the individual bills and use the ‘Add payment’ option, you can mark the individual bill as paid. That way there will be a single accounting record to match against a single transaction line on the bank statement to reconcile. Hope that helps.

Vanessa Steen in reply to Beeny Atherton
December 17, 2020 at 1.43 am

Hi Beeny, thanks for the suggestion. While this works for individual invoices, if there are multiple invoices for the one supplier, this does not work as it is not possible to add all the invoices together on one remittance advice. This means I have to go back to option 2, as stated in my previous message – select the invoices for payment, send remittances, then reverse the payment so the invoices are available to match to the bank rec – which is rather annoying and time consuming! I think this issue needs another look on Xero’s part. Thanks.

Beeny Atherton in reply to Vanessa Steen Xero
December 22, 2020 at 12.18 pm

Hi Vanessa – thanks so much again for your sharing your feedback with us, which I have passed on to my team who are looking at a global solution. Please keep an eye out for further updates.

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