If the customer does not pay on time, you must send a reminder. It is important that you know the rules concerning penalty interest on late payments and due dates.
You should send a reminder a few days after the due date of the invoice. The reminder should state that the invoice is overdue and that payment has not been made. Please note that the invoice may have been paid but not yet registered.
If you have agreed to a reminder fee for late payments in the contract, you have the right to charge a fee of SEK 60 when you send a payment reminder. You may charge SEK 180 if a collection notice is sent, and SEK 170 for setting up an instalment plan.
The reminder fee covers the cost of the administrative work involved in sending reminders.
At an early stage, penalty interest, due date and any reminder fee should be specified in the quote or contract. It is possible to waive the right to penalty interest when selling to consumers, but it is not possible to waive the right to penalty interest between businesses.
Penalty interest must be calculated on the invoice amount, including VAT. However, no penalty interest may be applied to the invoicing fee, reminder fee or collection fee, as these fees are fixed by contract or law. Nor can penalty interest be applied to penalty interest that has not been paid.
Fixed due date and penalty interest
If you have contracted on due date and penalty interest, you calculate penalty interest from the due date using the contracted percentage. It may be a good idea to contract for a high penalty interest rate, as this will give you a better chance of getting your payment on time. The interest rate must not be unreasonably high, or it could be adjusted or deemed invalid.
If the due date is fixed but you have not agreed on penalty interest, the law allows you to charge interest at a reference rate + 8% on the invoice amount from the due date. The reference rate is an interest rate set by the Riksbank once every six months.
If nothing has been agreed
If neither the due date nor the penalty interest rate has been agreed in the contract, you can still charge penalty interest. The procedure differs slightly depending on whether the customer is a consumer or a business.
If the customer is a business, you can charge interest as described above (reference rate + 8%) from the day that is 30 days after the invoice date, i.e. the date on which you have drawn up and sent the invoice or from the date on which you, as the seller, have otherwise demanded payment. You do not need to inform the customer that you will charge penalty interest.
When you want to charge consumers penalty interest, you must give the customer at least 30 days' notice that non-payment will incur interest for late payment. You should therefore write on the invoice that penalty interest will be charged after 30 days. If you notify the customer later, for example by means of a payment reminder, the 30 days count from the date you sent the reminder. Interest is calculated in the same way as for business customers.
How to calculate penalty interest
You send an invoice on 1 April.
- No interest rate has been agreed.
- No due date is specified.
- The invoice amount is SEK 10,000.
You send a payment reminder on 21 May.
Interest is as follows: (10,000 x (reference rate + 8%) x 20 days) divided by 365 = penalty interest in SEK.
Late payment compensation
If a business fails to pay a claim for a product or serviceon time, you, as the supplier, are entitled to charge a late payment penalty of SEK 450 in addition to penalty interest. This compensation can only be charged to businesses and government agencies, not to consumers.
In order to be entitled to the late payment compensation, you do not need to have taken any special recovery measures, such as sending a collection notice, but the right to the late payment compensation only applies if you are entitled to penalty interest on the delay.
Note that you cannot first charge SEK 450 and then add the usual fees for reminders, collection notices and any instalment plan drawn up – these are included in the late payment compensation.
If the customer does not pay
If, despite reminders, the customer does not pay, the Swedish Enforcement Authority can help you to recover the debt. You then apply for a payment order from the Swedish Enforcement Authority.