Remittance advice, also known as payment advice, is a note sent by a customer telling their supplier that an outstanding invoice has been paid. Since most digital payments are instant, or near enough, remittance advice is not a common part of ecommerce accounting.
Before digital payments, remittance advice was sent in the post along with a cheque and gave information about what the cheque was for. This made it a lot easier for the clerk opening the mail to work out which invoice to match the payment to. In the 21st century, most accounting software uses AI to match open invoices to payments. There are a few cases where an ecommerce business might receive payment advice:
- the transaction is B2B or wholesale
- the payment method is an invoice and the payment terms are net-60 or net-90
What do I do if a customer sends me remittance advice?
You don’t have to do anything. Remittance advice is just information. Wait a few days for the payment to appear in your account and reconcile it with the invoice in whatever way is normal for your business.
Do I need to send my supplier’s remittance advice when I pay my invoices?
No. Remittance advice is not a requirement, merely a courtesy if the amount owing is large, the payment terms are unusually long, or an international wire transfer is involved. Most ecommerce payments happen too quickly for remittance advice to be useful.
Is remittance advice proof of payment? No. Remittance advice is not proof of payment. It is an indication that payment is about to happen. Usually, remittance notices are emails automatically generated by accounting software when a batch of invoices is approved for payment. It may take a day or two for the money to reach your account, during which time it is possible for the payment to fail due to lack of funds or incorrect information. For inter-European or UK/Europe payments, the most reliable proof of payment is the funds booked in your account. International wire transfers can take up to 30 days, depending on which two countries are involved. In that case, if proof of payment is necessary, your customer can get a letter from their bank.
How is remittance advice related to remittances?
They are not related. Remittance advice is a note saying that an invoice is being paid. Remittances is the general term for money foreign workers send back to their friends and family in their home country. Remittances are non-commercial transactions and in 2021, they totalled around $600bn.
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