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Commercial Debts1

Penalties for Late Payment of Commercial Debts

Under the law of collection of debts, whenever a consumer or a business client fails to pay the debt on time, late payment interest can be claimed from the client or consumer. This applies to all financial transactions with any kind of businesses and government authorities.

Commercial Debts


  • You must have completed your legal and contractual requirements.
  • The consumer is responsible for the delay.

The client cannot claim late payment interest:

  • In transactions with consumers;
  • If the statement is for compensation payment for damages.

In some countries, late payment interest is not applicable if the consumer is going through bankruptcy proceedings.

When is a payment restricted as late?

Fixed payment deadline:

The client can claim late payment interest from the first day after the deadline.

  • If the consumer is a governmental authority, the payment will be made within 30 days.
  • If the consumer is another company, the period of extension of payment date cannot exceed over 60 days.

Payment period not specified in the legal statement :

  • The interest becomes essentially payable after 30 calendar days if the date is not specified.
  • If the client does not know the date of when the invoice was received, the interest can be claimed after 30 days from delivering the product or the service.
  • If the billing statement is sent to the client before the delivery of the product or service, the due date starts only after delivery.
  • Interest for late payment:
  • The legal late payment interest rate composes of the sum of the reference rate and an additional rate set by respective country. Governmental authorities or not allowed to fix lower interest rates.

Statutory interest rate (%/year) :

  • The reference rate for the European countries not using the euro is set by the national central banks.

Compensation for recovery costs:

  • In addition to the fixed interest due, you are entitled to a minimum fixed sum of EUR 40 as compensation for recovery costs. The client is entitled to receive a further reasonable compensation for recovery costs from the debtors exceeding the fixed sum and incurred due to the late payment.

Late payment E-Helpdesk:

  • For information on the late payment, you can contact the E-Helpdesk:
  • The authority also invites companies and individuals to share information on the application of the regulations their respective countries and to send any confirmation of issues experienced when applying the rights consulted by the directive or regulations.