What Does Pay by Invoice Mean

Pay by invoice refers to a payment method in which a buyer is given the option to settle a purchase at a later date, typically after receiving the goods or services. Rather than paying immediately with cash or using a credit card, the buyer is provided with an invoice that specifies the amount due, payment terms, and any other relevant details. Paying by invoice allows for greater flexibility and convenience for both buyers and sellers, particularly in business-to-business (B2B) transactions.


In a pay by invoice arrangement, the buyer receives an invoice from the seller, usually via email or in a printed format. The invoice includes essential information such as the seller’s details, the buyer’s information, a description of the goods or services, the agreed-upon price, any applicable taxes, and the payment due date. The buyer is then expected to remit the payment within the specified time frame, typically ranging from 30 to 90 days.


  1. Flexibility: Paying by invoice provides customers with flexibility, as it allows them to receive goods or services upfront and settle the payment at a later date. This can be especially helpful for businesses with varying cash flows or when funds are expected to arrive shortly after the purchase.
  2. Credit Terms: Paying by invoice grants buyers credit terms, enabling them to manage their cash flow more effectively. It allows for the optimization of working capital by delaying payment until the invoice’s due date, freeing up funds for other purposes, such as investments or operational expenses.
  3. Billing Accuracy: Invoicing allows for accurate billing, as it provides a detailed breakdown of the purchased items or services. Buyers can review the invoice to ensure the charges are correct and dispute any discrepancies, ensuring they only pay for what they have received.
  4. Purchase Records: Invoicing provides a proper record of purchases, helping buyers keep track of their expenses for budgeting, tax purposes, or auditing. The detailed documentation found in an invoice can serve as proof of the transaction, making it easier to manage financial records.


Pay by invoice is commonly used in B2B transactions where businesses frequently transact with each other. It offers a more suitable payment method compared to immediate payment options like credit cards or cash. It is often utilized in industries where large or complex orders are common, such as manufacturing, wholesale trade, and professional services.

Pay by invoice is also applicable in e-commerce scenarios, where customers may prefer the convenience of receiving goods first and paying later. It offers an alternative to payment gateways, which often require immediate payment. The option to pay by invoice can attract prospective buyers who prefer deferred payment, potentially boosting sales.


Pay by invoice is a payment method that provides flexibility and convenience to buyers, allowing them to settle their purchases at a later date. It grants credit terms, enables better cash flow management, ensures billing accuracy, and maintains proper purchase records. This payment option is widely utilized in B2B transactions and is also gaining popularity in e-commerce. By leveraging pay by invoice, businesses and customers alike can benefit from a more flexible payment arrangement.

This glossary is made for freelancers and owners of small businesses. If you are looking for exact definitions you can find them in accounting textbooks.

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