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How to reduce risk in cross-border transactions

  • Get to know your customer as well as you can, including financial data.
  • Have plan for the case where you don’t get paid.
  • Make sure your contracts and terms of delivery and payment are clear and up-to-date.
  • If you are not paid, act quickly and decisively. Customers who do not pay may not be customers you want in any case.
  • Be straight and transparent with your customers. Make it clear you expect payment on time.
  • Keep records of your business transactions (purchase orders, contracts, emails).
  • Try to asses, define and quantify your risk when exporting to specific customers using tools such as credit rating services and the European Payment Report (EPR).
  • Get help as soon as possible if you have trouble getting paid.

 The EPR is based on answers from respondents across Europe and strives to measure and describe the payment behaviour and financial health of European businesses. While 73 percent say that the low global interest rate has had no significant impact on their ability to grow, 24 percent of the respondents say they may have to dismiss staff as a consequence of not being paid on time. 34 percent say that they are unable to recruit for the same reason. 

The most common reason for being paid late is financial problems among customers but the second most common is intentional late payment. Fully 60 percent say that one of the main causes of late payments is that their customers choose to pay late. Equally worrying but also addressable is that 27 percent of the respondents do not use any form of protection against bad payments.