Santander has collaborated with the Office of the Small Business Commissioner to help businesses that may experience late payment of invoices.

Businesses are facing unprecedented challenges and the Small Business Commissioner, Philip King has appealed to those in charge of supplier payroll to urgently consider accelerating invoice payments to the small business community:


For small businesses, cashflow is the difference between survival and failure. Coronavirus has put unprecedented pressure on the UK’s SMEs. When the cash runs out, businesses collapse.


While Government is providing welcome support through a range of measures, the reality for small firms is that short term cash flow is still the most important thing, and paying them is vital.

The Office of the Small Business Commissioner (SBC) was launched in December 2017 to ensure fair payment practices for Britain's small businesses, and support them in resolving their payment disputes with larger businesses and bring about culture change.

Of the six million businesses in Britain, 50% are affected with 45% taking up to 3 months to get paid. 1 in 6 wait 6 months and this costs the UK economy £2.5billion every year.

At Santander we want to change this, so we’ve put together this guide to support the journey to becoming an entrepreneur. 

Have you suffered issues with late payments and not sure what to do next?

Take a scroll through the guide below where you’ll find top tips on how to effectively deal with late payments.

  • Undertake due diligence when receiving an order from either a new or existing customer. Check their credit rating, there are free online tools, check the companies house number against the purchase order and confirm who is placing the order and who and where you contact to obtain payment.
  • Consider pro forma sales for first order, this is normal business practice. New customers have to build up a credit rating with you.
  • Agree payment terms at order.
  • Provide regular statements and keep in touch with your customers.
  • Remember a sale does not count until it's been paid for.
  • Don’t be afraid to withhold goods or services in lieu of outstanding payment.
  • Keep your discipline; it is your business, your risk and decision, but credit ratings are in place for a reason.
  • Understand your customer and any unique payment requirements such as public sector contracts.
  • Adapt to your changing business needs. Talk to your customers.
  • Remember to build this experience in to your business.

How to resolve a dispute

Susan Davies

Head of Business Banking

We understand that for many small businesses in the UK the issue of late payment of invoices can have an enormous impact on their survival. Helping business owners with the challenges they face is a huge part of what we do every day so I am delighted to be collaborating with the office of the Small Business Commissioner on this important topic.

Top tips from successful entrepreneurs

Help from the Small Business Commissioner

The Small Business Commissioner has a range of further information on invoicing, contracts and mediation.

The Prompt Payment Code launched in 2008 and has played an important part in promoting a culture of prompt payment, committing its 2500 signatories to pay 95% of invoices within 60 days and work towards 30 days as normal practice. In the last 12 months, businesses that have failed to honour those commitments have been removed, and only re-instated when a suitable remedial plan has been approved by the PPC’s Compliance Board.

The Small Business Commissioner aim to build on this excellent work and look to increase the number of signatories, where good practice can be recognised by their customers and suppliers.

Small Business Commissioner