University Standard Payment Terms and Change Requests

Harvard University’s standard payment term for all companies is Net/30 (unless an early payment discount applies). This means that we will make payment to the vendor 30 calendar days after the invoice date. Certain categories of payees are set to immediate payment terms, meaning that payment is made in the next payment cycle (payments are sent on Tuesdays and Thursdays) after the invoice is processed by AP. 

Vendor TypeDescriptionPayment TermsEnd to End*
CompaniesAll standard business, corporations, consultants (incorporated), government entities, etc.Net/3030 business days from date on the invoice
UtilitiesVendors provide a utility service such as power and waterImmediate2 – 5 business days
Rentals and LeasesA vendor where the primary payment type is a rental or lease payment (e.g. rental agency, leasing broker, etc.)Immediate2 – 5 business days
IndividualsStandard individualsImmediate2 – 5 business days
Foreign Individuals (1042S)Foreign individuals who must report taxes as 1042sImmediate (w/ extra review)3 – 7 business days

* End to End includes the amount of time it takes AP to process an invoice after it is received and generate payment for distribution. Anything received by AP after 2pm will be handled the following day.

Processes Affecting Net/30 Payment Terms

Several processes may affect the business terms by changing them from the standard Net/30 to immediate to facilitate a special need.

Process NameDescription or Instructions LinkPayment TermsEnd to End*
US Wire TransfersLinkImmediate2 – 5 business days
Foreign Wire TransfersLinkImmediate (only processed every Tuesday and Thursday)1 – 3 business days
Homeland Security Visa Request FormLinkImmediate2 – 5 business days
Deposit/Partial Payment and Enclosure/Special Mailing FormLinkImmediate1 – 2 business days
Emergency Check Pickup RequestTBDImmediate1 – 2 business days (longer if foreign individual)
Departmental Check DeliveryLinkDoes not affect standard terms (see above)See vendor type in chart above

* End to End includes the amount of time it takes AP to process an invoice after it is received and generate payment for distribution. Anything received by AP after 2pm will be handled the following business day.

What Does Immediate Payment Terms Mean?

AP payment cycles run Tuesday and Thursday of every week. Any invoice submitted and matched where immediate payment terms apply will be processed in the Oracle system by AP within 2 – 5 business days and payment will be issued via a check or Paymode on the following Tuesday or Thursday. Example: If an invoice is received in AP on Thursday, it will be processed sometime between Friday and Wednesday, and payment will be issued via Paymode or check the following Thursday.

Requesting a Permanent Change to a Vendor’s Payment Terms

In special circumstances a need may arise to request that a particular vendor’s payment terms be permanently changed from the University standard payment terms of Net/30. Changes can affect existing contract terms at the University, therefore careful consideration must be given to any such changes. All requests for permanent terms changes must come from a tub level finance office.

Considerations and Best Practices

  • A permanent change to a vendor’s payment terms is most typically associated with fulfilling a contractual need with the vendor and/or receiving more favorable payment terms, such as early payment discounts.
  • Central Administration Strategic Procurement, as well as several other central departments, manage many large contracts which apply to the entire University. Payment terms changes to these vendors must be vetted through the department that manages the University contract.
  • Changes should not be requested for vendors who already have immediate payment terms in the system, such as individuals, utilities companies, rentals, etc. For a more detailed list of vendor types which already have immediate payment terms, please see above.

Instructions for Requesting Permanent Change to Terms

  • The initial request must come from a tub level finance office. Requests made directly from purchasers/departments will be referred back to their tub finance office.
  • Tub finance office will send an email to with an email subject line in all caps of AP PERM PAYMENT TERMS CHANGE REQUEST.
  • Request should include the following information:
    • Requestor’s name and contact information
    • Vendor name and contact information
    • Is there a contract with this vendor (if so, please include)
    • Estimated annual transaction count and total spend with vendor
    • Reason for requesting that the vendors terms be changed
    • What terms are being requested (e.g. immediate, 2%/10, etc.)
    • A digital copy of the contract or vendor invoice with terms and conditions stating the payment terms requested
  • Email requests will generate a Service Now ticket, and the sender will receive a notification.
  • The request will be reviewed by AP and Strategic Procurement to ensure that it does not conflict with any criteria listed above or other applicable best practices.
  • AP will notify the tub finance office if the request is either completed and payment terms changed, or if the request is denied and for what reasons.
  • Requests may take 5 to 10 business days to process.