Why payment terms are less affected by bank holidays

Bank holidays have long been a possible reason why payment terms might be ignored – the extra delay caused by being unable to get to the bank, usually immediately following a weekend when it may have been closed anyway, has been a common cause of late payments for generations.

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However, the 21st century is changing that, and as we approach the summer of 2016 – and most of the year’s public and bank holidays – there are good reasons why payment terms shouldn’t allow too much leeway for non-payment around these ‘days off’.

One of the main reasons for this is simply the rise of internet banking, and for proof of why this has made payment terms much more enforceable even around public holidays, you only have to look back at the Christmas that has just gone.

Figures from Halifax reveal that one in seven (14%) online banking customers checked their account on Christmas Day itself, a two percentage point increase over the previous year.

With the cost of Christmas firmly in mind, it is perhaps no surprise that many of these logins were to carry out debt-related tasks, and it seemed that the topics on people’s minds varied as the day progressed, too.

In the morning, more people took the opportunity to move money between accounts, while in the evening there was an increase in people checking what was left of their bank balance, and applying for an overdraft if necessary.

Nick Williams, consumer digital director at Halifax, said: “We’ve seen an increase in the number of people checking their finances, with many people now logging in on a daily basis. 19% of our mobile banking customers log on five or more times per week.

“With Christmas being such an expensive time of year, the ease of access provided by online banking means that people are taking the opportunity to start sorting their festive finances even earlier.”

On Christmas Eve, 1.3 million people checked their bank balance, with two thirds of these using a mobile device to do so; a further one million checked their balance on Boxing Day too.

The figures show that, even on the biggest public holiday of the year, mobile technology and widely available internet access mean bank accounts – and even bank transfers – are not out of reach.

While the actual transfer might not go through until after the holiday, this means it can still be scheduled, providing a good reason why payment terms need not be extended by much beyond the original deadline, before recovery action begins.

A crucial period looking ahead into 2016 will be Easter, as both March 25th and March 28th are holidays – putting even greater priority on getting your payment terms clarified during the first quarter of the year.

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