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Fine for Late Payment

I’m a small business owner. In these tough economic times, many of my clients are asking if they can pay their bills in installments (or pay part of their bills without asking if it’s okay to do so—even if they intend to pay the rest later.) When they do this, I lose money. Am I allowed to charge an additional (one-time, flat) fee for anyone paying in installments? Am I allowed to make the fee different for people who wish to take longer to pay?


It is permitted to charge a one-time penalty fee for late payment. The fee should not be proportional to how late each one of the clients promises to pay, and should be a simple fine for not paying on time.

Sources: See Radvaz 4:493, who permits a fine for late payments; see also Teshuras Shai, vol. 1, no. 254, who writes that although it is permitted to take a fine, one should not fix a date for the later payments, which would indicate that the fine is payment for the extra time; see Bris Yehuda, Ikrei Dinim, chap. 4, no. 22.

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1 Comment

  1. I wish the halacha were different.

    Thank you for having answered the question.

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