What does the scheduled due date mean

Payment term

In order to avoid misunderstandings with invoices, it is particularly important that Payment term to be clearly defined. In this article we explain what you have to pay attention to and what the deadlines are.

Payment term definition

This is the Terms of paymentthat you have to state on an invoice. As a general rule, invoices are always due immediately - after receipt of the goods. However, the legislature grants a payment period of 30 days. Only then is your customer in default of payment. If your customer is a private person, you are obliged to state the payment deadline of 30 days on your invoice.

In addition, entrepreneurs and their customers are allowed to individual regulations arrange. But it should be noted that this regulation was previously contractually agreed. The most common payment terms are:

There are also additions that you can add to your payment term. These are for example:

Net:In this case, the invoice is to be paid without the granting of a discount in the case of quick payment. That means there is no discount for fast paying customers.

Immediately without departing:Here the invoice is due immediately upon receipt. Here, too, the invoice issuer does not grant a discount.

With x% discount:With this addition, the price is reduced by 5% if the customer pays quickly (within a short period of time).

What is the difference between payment terms and payment deadlines?

The payment term is the time for the final due date of your invoice and when your customer is in default. The payment term defines this period.

How do you formulate the payment term?

The most common formulations for the term of payment are as follows:

  • Payable without deduction by (date).
  • Payable within 14 days of the invoice being issued.
  • Please transfer the invoice amount to the above account by (date).
  • Payable within one week of receipt of the invoice.
  • Payable with 5% discount within x days.

The best thing to do is to enter it on your invoice Due Date at. Because this gives you an overview of the payments and, if necessary, you can act directly in the event of non-payment. In addition, it is clear with a fixed date by when he has to pay the bill.

Our tip!

With an invoice program you can easily write your invoices and use placeholders and templates. It is also possible to set generally valid payment terms or to adapt them for specific customers. Above all, the self-employed, freelancers and small and medium-sized companies like to fall back on reliable software.

How can you shorten the deadline with a discount?

The discount is immediate or subsequent Purchase price reduction to understand. You can use this on your invoice if you want to get your customer paid early. As a rule, the term of payment is decisive here. (Usually 10 to 14 days). If the customer pays during this period, a certain percentage of the purchase price may be withheld. This percentage is between two and five percent. It is important that you explicitly refer to the discount on your invoice. It can look like this:

  • Within 7 days less a 2 percent discount, within 30 days net



The customer may not grant himself a discount just because he pays early. This is only reserved for the invoice issuer.


When does the payment deadline apply?

As a rule, the deadline applies from receipt of the goods. If it is not entirely clear when the goods have arrived at the customer, a fictitious deadline applies. This is divided into two areas:

  • For letter mail, 3 working days from the date of dispatch apply.
  • In the case of shipments of goods and books, it is assumed that no later than seven days from the date of dispatch.

When does the deadline expire and what happens when it passes?

The provisions of the German Civil Code apply here. Namely in § 188. Here it says that the period ends when the last day of the payment period has expired. In the following we have an example for you:

  • The customer will receive the invoice on August 1st. received
  • 14 days are specified as the payment term
  • until the end of August 15 the customer has to pay to meet the deadline


If the deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday, the payment deadline does not end until the following working day. (§ 193 BGB).

What happens if the payment deadline is not met?

The first thing you should always do is send a friendly payment reminder to your customer. Maybe he really just forgot to pay and there is no bad intent behind it. The next steps after the reminder are as follows:

  • 1st reminder
  • 2nd reminder
  • 3rd reminder

In general, you also have the option of skipping the payment reminder and sending a reminder directly. But whether this necessarily ensures a good business relationship is questionable.

What happens if no payment deadline is given?

As mentioned above, the payment term does not count as Mandatory on bills. But there are three good reasons why you should provide this information.

Preventing clutter: The time of the is on your invoice performance. This should let your customer know by when to make the payment. But most customers do not know the legal payment deadlines and are usually confused because of the missing payment date. To prevent this, it makes sense to include a payment term on your invoice.

Automatic delay:If there is a due date on your invoice, you will automatically default your customer when the payment deadline has expired. This means that the customer bears all the consequences, such as the dunning fees. If you do not specify a payment deadline, you will only put your customer in default when they receive the first reminder from you.

Psychological effect:We humans usually react more conscientiously to appointments than to tasks that are not scheduled. It is the same with invoices. If a generous payment period is allowed, the customer can forget to pay because the invoice slips aside. That is, if you got one on the bill Deposit payment date, the customer is more likely to pay than if you don't specify a payment deadline.