How to pay bills (invoices) in Croatia
Live in Croatia long enough, and you’ll have to start paying bills or invoices, called račun in Croatian. It may seem simple, but if you’re coming from abroad, it’s probably different than what you’re used to.
I was confused when I first started paying bills, as the process was very different than in the United States. If you have also been confused by the process, this post will help clear up the mysteries of paying bills in Croatia.
There are a few ways you may receive bills/invoices, and there are a few different ways to pay. We’ll go over all of them.
In this post, we cover:
The facts are these…
How to pay bills or invoices in Croatia
A bill or invoice is called račun in Croatian. There are many types of invoices, so let’s get a bit granular and start with the basics.
#1 Store receipts
If you purchase something in a shop, supermarket, café, restaurant, or bakery, you’ll get a račun as it is required by law. It functions more as a receipt of payment, but it is still considered a račun.
#2 Utility bills
These types of invoices include electricity, water, garbage, and city taxes for the apartment or house where you live. Maybe the bills come to you, maybe they come to your landlord. In addition, bills can be mailed to you, but the accounts can stay in your landlord’s name.
All printed utility bills come with a payment slip called uplatnica. It is usually outlined in red. You’ll see examples further down in the post.
There are two types of utility bills that you’ll encounter.
Non-fixed utility bills
Your water bill is an example of a non-fixed utility bill. You receive an invoice each month, and the amount varies depending on your usage. For the water bill, it is not uncommon for you to report your water meter reading to your landlord or building manager every month for the calculation of what you owe.
The garbage bill you receive from the Čistoća is also an example of a non-fixed. This bill is calculated based on the number of people in the household, so the amount is usually the same. The reason I am putting it in the “non-fixed” category is because it comes every month, or frankly, whenever Čistoća feels like sending you one. As of 2022, Zagreb has a different trash collection system than other cities.
Fixed utility bills
Certain invoices will be sent to you in batches, e.g., you’ll receive 6 months’ worth of uplatnica at once. This does not mean you must pay all 6 months at once. I mean, you can if you really want to, but it’s not expected.
For example, HEP Elektra, d.o.o. (the state-run electricity company) uses average billing. Every 6 months, they look at your usage for the previous 6 months and create an average cost that you must pay every month based on that usage. For 6 months, you pay a flat rate for every month based on that average cost.
At the end of that 6 months, they recalculate your usage again. If you prepaid more than what you used, then they will credit your next bill accordingly, and your monthly payments for the next 6 months will go down. If you prepaid less than what you used, your next bill will include the difference you owe, and your monthly payments will go up.
HEP will send you 6 uplatnice at a time for the same amount, each with a different due date on them. It is your responsibility to pay each one at the appropriate time.
Depending on your jurisdiction, you may also be required to pay a tax to your city. For Split, there is a tax of about 8 euros that must be paid every month to Grad Split. It’s a flat rate every month, but they send the uplatnice 6 months at a time, just like HEP.
Here is an example of a fixed-rate uplatnica from the city of Split, with personal information redacted.
#3 Straight-up invoices
Usually, you’ll receive one of these when you are purchasing a service or product from a business that you can’t physically visit or a government institution that doesn’t accept payments on site.
Here is an example. I had some blood tests done at the hospital. I didn’t have supplementary health insurance called dopunsko, so I owed 6,5 euros for these tests. About a week after the test, I received an invoice in the mail from the hospital, but it did not include uplatnica. We’ll address what to do in this situation further down.
Here is another example. A few years ago, I bought a special edition National Geographic coffee table book of Croatia for my mother as a gift. They sent me an invoice by email, which I paid at the post office, which we’ll address further down.
#4 Just an account number
If you need to send money “na račun” (on bank account) to someone, sometimes they’ll just give you their IBAN, which starts with an “HR”.
Technically, this is not an invoice, but it does fall into the arena of requesting a payment, so I’m putting it on this list.
Here is an example. I ordered olive oil from my favorite producer in Istria. They emailed me the IBAN number and amount to pay, with no invoice. We will not address the illegality of this right now.
Here is another example. There is a cool printmaker in Split that I follow on Instagram. She created neat notebooks with an awesome octopus print on them that were for sale. She sent me her IBAN for me to pay.
Here is yet another example. My friend and I split the gift cost for a friend getting married. She made the purchase, so I sent her money on account for my half.
[Read: How to attend a Croatian wedding]
There are several ways to pay a business or a person. Let’s go through each one.
If you do not have a Croatian bank account, then Hrvatska pošta – HP (Croatian postal office) is an easy way to pay bills.
Take your uplatnica to the closest location. You can pay by cash or card, and they may charge you a fee in the amount of 3.32% of the payment amount. The lowest fee is 0,66 €, and the highest is 13,27 €. However, bills issued by HP partners can be paid free of charge. A list of HP partners is available here.
If going to the post office, I recommend going around 14:30. I have found this to be the sweet spot when the lines are the shortest, likely because everyone is at home finishing their lunch.
#2 In person
You can go in person to each utility or company to pay most bills but don’t.
It is simply not worth saving the bill payment fee, considering how long you’ll be in line. Better to stand in one line at Hrvatska pošta than in 6 different lines at each utility.
#3 Through a bank account
Paying through a Croatian bank account is the easiest and cheapest way to pay invoices. If you do not pay for bill payment as a service on your bank account, you will pay a small fee for each bill – the exact amount depends on the bank. If you have bill payment on your account (which you have to pay monthly), then there is no fee to pay a bill.
There are also multiple avenues for paying a bill through a bank account. You can pay in person at your bank, through a mobile app, or by logging into your account through a web browser. For the latter, you’ll need a little calculator-looking gadget that your bank will give you.
I use PBZ’s mobile app, which has a barcode scanner. I open the app, scan the barcode on the uplatnica and all the payment information is pre-loaded for me. Their app has an English version too. If you have used a different bank’s mobile app to pay bills, share your experience in the comments.
Another option to pay bills is by using a mobile app called KEKS Pay. It was developed by Erste bank, but you can use any other bank credit card to pay bills (it does not need to be Erste’s).
#4 Trajni nalog
Some utilities will allow you to set up a direct debit from your bank account to occur automatically each month. To set this up, you’ll need to visit the utility directly to check if they offer trajni nalog and set it up.
Another way to pay bills is at Tisak. Tisak has more than 900 selling spots in Croatia where you can pay bills by using a 2D bar code. At many selling spots, bills can be paid whether they have a 2D bar code or not.
When you come to the Tisak selling spot, give the bills that you want to pay to the seller. They will scan your accounts just like any other product. You can pay them with cash and Maestro or MasterCard.
Tisak also allows you to pay bills through Aircash mobile application. Learn more about this service in our guide on Tisak available here.
Bills can also be paid in many supermarkets in Croatia including:
Give the bills that you want to pay to the seller, and they will scan them. You can pay bills in cash and Maestro or MasterCard.
#7 Gas stations
It is possible to pay the bills at gas stations in Croatia including:
Give the bills that you want to pay to the seller. They will scan the bills, and you will pay them.
Many Croatians still have a habit to pay bills at FINA (Financial Agency).
FINA will charge you 0,64 euros per bill for amounts of up to 34,31 euros. For amounts higher than 34,31 euros, they will charge 1.85% of the payment amount per bill. The highest fee that you can pay is 9,95 euros.
View all FINA branches in Croatia here.
iNovine has more than 200 selling spots in Croatia. You can pay bills at their selling spots like everywhere else. Give the bills to the seller and pay after the seller scans the bills.
We’re nearing the promised land of adulting in Croatia.
If you have pre-printed uplatnica
If you have a pre-printed uplatnica, then you are set. Hrvatska pošta can scan the barcode and immediately bring up the bill information to apply for your payment.
If you are paying on a mobile app, you can scan the barcode using your phone to bring up the bill information. Then you just confirm the payment.
If you don’t have pre-printed uplatnica and are paying online
In this case, you only need the IBAN and the amount to pay. Make sure you put it in the right place, or the payment will not go through.
Look for the fields marked Model and Poziv na broj primatelja. Put “HR” plus the next two numbers in the Model field. Then put the rest of the number in the Poziv field next to it.
The bank will do the rest for you.
If you don’t have pre-printed uplatnica and are paying in person
If you have an invoice with an IBAN without uplatnica or just an IBAN, you’ll need to fill out a blank uplatnica before you can make the payment.
Usually, you can get these at any place where you can make payments, but you can also buy them at tiskarnica, papirnica, and probably Tisak. It will look like this.
If you’re paying your health insurance HZZO premium out-of-pocket (e.g., you are not employed by a Croatian company), they usually send 2 blank uplatnice monthly along with your monthly bill. I stockpile these for when I need them.
You’ll need to fill out the following fields on the uplatnica:
- Platitelj – Put your name and address here.
- Primatelj – Put the person or company and their address you are paying here. If it is a business, you’ll be asked to provide their OIB number as well, which goes in this space.
- Valuta plaćanja – This is for the currency. Put “HRK”.
- Iznos – The total amount you are paying. It should be formatted like this: 1.000,00
- Model & Poziv na broj primatelja – This is for the IBAN that starts with “HR” that you were provided by the person or business. It connects to their bank account. Put “HR” plus the next two numbers in the Model field. Then put the rest of the number in the Poziv field next to it.
- Opis plaćanja – This is the reason for payment. If paying an invoice, put the invoice number here.
- Duplicate all of this information in the secondary fields on the right side of the slip. This will be detached as your receipt of payment.
Hooray! Now you can pay invoices in Croatia.
View our other financial posts
- 11 things to know about getting a home loan in Croatia
- Croatia’s banks that offer mortgages and who they will consider for a loan
- Croatia’s biggest banks: fees and services
- Do I need to open a bank account in Croatia?
- Government grants and loans for entrepreneurs in Croatia
- How credit works in Croatia
- How to get a mortgage loan in Croatia
- How to show proof of financial means
- What is fiscalization and why does it matter to business owners
- What to know about cryptocurrency in Croatia including trends, access, and taxes
Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.