Late payment tips

​Top ten tips to avoid late payment

Bacs has developed some handy hints designed to help you fight back against late payment.

1. Boost cashflow overnight
When you’re paid electronically, the funds are cleared and available for use on the day they're received.

2. Be proactive
Always chase early. A polite call or email can often pre-empt a payment problem. Regular conversations will also help build positive relationships with your customers’ accounts departments.

3. Do your homework
Avoid risks when supplying new customers by running a credit check. There are many associations and independent bodies, for example Companies House, which can provide status reports for a reasonable fee. This upfront insight is worth its weight; if you knew a company had experienced financial problems in the past, would you still give them 30 days credit?

4. Demand interest

Demand interest on late payments – you are legally entitled to it. And if you have customers who regularly pay you late, you should get familiar with UK business law as a matter of course. You can find government advice.

5. Control incoming payments​
If your clients and customers pay you by Direct Debit, you’ll know when the funds will be due to land which will help with your cashflow planning. Find out more about how to access Direct Debit​.

6. Take the credit
Using Bacs Direct Credit, customers can pay you straight into your bank account – it’s easy for them and simple for you. Simply include your sort code, and account number, and account name on all your invoices, along with a note to encourage payment directly into your bank account.​

7. Help the environment – and save money for you and your customers, too

Automated payments eliminate paper use as well as reducing postage and other administrative costs.

8. Better payment terms

Save your own suppliers time and money by paying them using Bacs Direct Credit and settling your regular business bills by Direct Debit. This approach could help you negotiate better payment terms and avoid penalty charges on any overdue invoices or bills. You’ll need their sort code, account number and account name. Ask for a copy of their paying in slip or request written confirmation from a company official on the organisation’s headed paper to ensure all details are correct and to avoid fraud.

9. You win, we all win
If you get a reputation as a late payer, word will eventually get around. If all businesses use the tools at hand to settle accounts quickly and efficiently, the economy as a whole will feel the benefit with positive spin-offs all round. And why not reward your prompt payers? Discounts will encourage them and keep the money flowing in.

10. Take action

Smaller businesses struggling with overdue payments can get help from the Small Business Commissioner’s​ office.

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