Payment behaviour of companies declines - invoices are paid later and later

The payment behaviour of companies has fallen significantly in the context of the Corona pandemic. This is shown by data from the information service provider CRIFBÜRGEL, which has analyzed the payment behavior of approximately 450,000 companies.

The average payment delay increases to 34.4 days

Overdue invoices are currently paid in Germany with a delay of around 34.4 days (as of 02.06.2020). In January 2020, the average payment delay was still 26.4 days.

"From mid-April, the payment behaviour of companies deteriorated dramatically. We are currently increasingly observing liquidity-conserving behaviour on the part of companies", comments CRIFBÜRGEL Managing Director Dr. Frank Schlein on the current figures.

German companies grant their creditors an average payment term of 26 days. For non-payers or late payers, invoices are currently only paid after an average of 60 days. "For companies, this behaviour means that they have to wait more than twice as long for their money than originally calculated. This makes them involuntary lenders to their customers," says Schlein.

This behaviour is often at the expense of medium-sized and small businesses, because a lack of liquidity, e.g. caused by late or unpaid invoices, is one of the most frequent causes of insolvency. In addition, an invoice not paid or paid late by the customer or principal means more administrative work and additional costs. In the worst case, a vicious circle develops, as companies have to forgo their own investments for longer than planned due to late payment of invoices or are unable to service orders. Small companies can get into economic difficulties themselves if their customers are reluctant to pay. It is already clear that, in view of the Corona crisis, after 10 years of decline in corporate insolvencies, significantly more companies in Germany will be sliding into bankruptcy again in 2020. Assuming that the effects of the corona pandemic on the economy are as strong as in the financial crisis of 2008, CRIFBÜRGEL expects more than 29,000 corporate insolvencies this year

Companies in Rhineland-Palatinate with the highest payment delays

The average payment delay also shows regional differences. Companies in Rhineland-Palatinate overrun their payment terms the most - by 56 days on average. Companies in Bremen (average delay of 45 days) and Hamburg (43 days) also pay their invoices with a significant delay. The situation is best in Saarland. Saarland companies pay with an average delay of 25 days.

The culture, entertainment and leisure industries currently show the worst payment behaviour. When invoices are paid, they are currently paid with a 62-day delay (January 2020: 32 days). But payment behaviour in the hospitality industry has also fallen sharply. While in January invoices were paid with an average delay of 33 days, this figure is currently 59 days. The situation looks better for energy suppliers. While bills were paid in January with 27 days delay, it is currently 29 days late.

11.5 percent of the companies do not pay bills or only with delay

Irrespective of the average delay in payment, the analysis by CRIFBÜRGEL shows that in Germany more than every tenth company (11.5 percent) currently does not pay its invoices or pays them late. In Berlin, the rate of non-payers and late payers is the highest at 18.9 percent. At 18.2 percent, the rate in Bremen is also higher than the national average. Payment morale is currently best in Thuringia - here only 8.2 percent of companies pay their bills late or not at all.

An analysis of the industries shows that companies in the logistics sector are currently increasingly affected by payment problems. At present, 29.3 percent of companies pay their invoices late or not at all. However, payment behaviour has also collapsed in the hospitality industry (24.9 per cent non-payers or late payers).

Data basis:

Based on the B2B business database DDMonitor, CRIFBÜRGEL regularly analyses the creditworthiness and payment behaviour of more than 450,000 companies. Participants in DDMonitor (Deutscher Debitoren Monitor) provide anonymized data on payment experiences made with their business partners.


Publisher:  CRIF Bürgel GmbH, Friesenweg 4, 22763 Hamburg,,


CRIF Bürgel GmbH
– Branch Head Office –
Leopoldstraße 244
Fax:  +49 40 89803-777/778