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9 reasons why you haven't received payment from your customer

9 reasons why you haven't received payment from your customer

Are you waiting on payment from a customer or client? Unfortunately, this is a common issue that business owners face.

Across the UK, businesses are owed £67bn in unpaid invoices, which is estimated to be putting more than 440000 businesses at risk and costing the economy £18bn every year as small businesses fold because of a lack of cash flow.

The good news is there are several things you can do to get paid faster by your clients and customers and make sure that your company has the kind of consistent cash flow to ensure you stay in business.

We've found that there are several common and fixable reasons why your customers haven't paid you on time and we can help you solve this problem.

Take a look at the top nine reasons we believe could be causing your customer's payment delays below.

1. Missing information and payment details on the invoice 

One of the most common reasons for invoices going unpaid is missing information and payment details on the invoice itself.

We recommend that you include your trading name and address, customer's name and address, contact information for the person responsible for paying your invoice, order number or reference numbers (if applicable), description of products/services provided with prices clearly stated on the invoice.

Also, we advise including all relevant payment details such as bank account number(s), Sort Code, and account name. Including these details makes it easier for the customer to pay you quickly and reduces the chances of any payment errors

If an invoice is not complete, it will likely be ignored by the customer or returned to you for completion, delaying payment in the process. Making sure that you have included all the necessary information will help to ensure a smooth and timely payment process.

Another common reason we see invoices go unpaid is that businesses are failing to set clear payment terms with their customers, which leads to confusion about when payments are due. To put an end to this we recommend that you include your payment terms on the invoice itself.

On top of this, we would strongly advise creating a ‘terms and conditions document for your business which covers everything from how to order, through to when payments are due and what happens if customers don't pay within these terms.

Having a good credit control policy in place is also key to ensuring that you receive payment on time. This policy should cover who is responsible for chasing payments, what actions will be taken if invoices are unpaid, and how long overdue payments will be chased.

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2. Not including a copy of the invoice as a PDF 

Many companies make use of expense tools such as Dext, which make use of PDF copies of invoices that are automatically uploaded to their expenses and included in the bills they have to pay.

By including a PDF copy of the invoice it makes it easier for them to upload this invoice into their system and pay you as soon as possible.

Automatically producing and including a PDF copy with your invoice is easy and we recommend you do this for every customer.

3. Your customers do not agree with the invoice 

Another common cause of non- or late payment is a disagreement between you and the customer over the details of the invoice.

This can be for a number of reasons - the customer arguing that they supplied the materials and so should not have to pay, or that the work was carried out incorrectly and is, therefore, your responsibility.

Whatever the reason, it's important to try and resolve any disputes as quickly as possible so that payment can be made.

The best way to approach this is to agree on the scope of work, and the price before starting the job. Getting this kind of agreement in writing in advance can help prevent disputes later on.

Some companies may have a policy that they only pay their suppliers once a month on the same day, if you send your invoice after this date we will not get paid until next month.

4. Not offering several payment options

The best way to get paid is to make it as easy as possible for your customer to pay you. This means accepting a variety of payment methods, such as debit cards, and credit cards, as well as other options such as PayPal and Switch.

Chaser's Payment Portals allow you to accept a wide range of payment options quickly and easily, taking away the hassle of getting paid. They also allow you to keep better track of your income and expenses.

All outgoing invoices sent by Chaser include a link to your customer's personalized Payment Portal, through which they can make a payment instantly, as well as keep track of their invoice history and get an up-to-date overview of how much they owe you.

By using Chaser's Payment Portals, you'll be able to save time and effort while also bringing in more business. Payment Portals are free to use with any Chaser account, so there's no reason not to get started right away.


5. You haven’t sent your invoice to the correct person or department

Just because you've been liaising with a certain person about the work you've been doing, doesn't mean they are in charge of processing invoices. One of the best ways to ensure you get paid as fast as possible is to make sure you're sending invoices to the correct person.

Inquiring as to who should be receiving your invoices is a good way to start, as you'll be able to send them to the right person from the outset. This is also a good way to find out who you should be following up with if your invoice becomes overdue.

If you haven't received payment for an invoice, it could be because the person/people responsible for paying invoices do not have your correct contact details.

It's not always the case that a delay in payment is down to the customer. There are a number of reasons why you may not have received your payment yet, and we've outlined nine of the most common ones below.

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6. You didn’t credit check your customer 

Credit checking your customers is a vital step in protecting your business from bad debt.

Some customers may seem great on the surface, but if you don't carry out a credit check, you could be opening yourself up to months of unpaid invoices and stress. While credit checking should always be a part of the onboarding process for new customers, it's also a good idea to run checks on existing clients too. Regular credit checking can help to highlight any changes in customer behaviour, such as increasing levels of debt or missed payments.

Chaser's in-build credit checking tool ensures that we can give an accurate credit score to each customer we work with.

Chaser use data from different sources, including the UK's largest credit reference agency, Experian, in order to build a clear picture of your customer's financial situation and help you avoid bad debt.


Some customers may seem great on the surface, but if you don't carry out a credit check, you could be opening yourself up to months of unpaid invoices and stress.

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7. Not sending any payment reminder emails 

There can be a number of perfectly good reasons why you haven't received payment from your customers.

In some cases, it could be that the customer is experiencing financial difficulties and hasn't yet had a chance to get in touch. However, there are also a number of reasons why your customer might not have paid that are within your control.

In most cases, sending an email reminder is the best way to ensure that you receive payment as quickly as possible.

It's also a good idea to send your customer a pre-invoice reminder, to let them know a payment is coming up and make sure that they have everything they need to make a payment as soon as possible.

The only downside to sending repeated reminder emails is that it takes time and time is money. However, there is a solution to this, automated reminders.

Switching to an automated reminder system can save you time and money, by reducing the amount of time you spend waiting for invoices to be paid, and it can also improve your customer relationships.


8. Your payment reminders look too automated 

While an automated payment system may be a great way to cut down on the amount of time you spend chasing payments, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

If your payment reminders look overly automated, they are not sent from you and do not include your signature your customers might ignore them. The good news is that the Chaser platform offers a wide range of automated reminder templates that you can use, which will make your reminders look personalized and important.

Chaser's credit control automation software produces personalized payment reminders that look like they have been hand-typed specifically for your customers.

This kind of personalized reminder has a much higher chance of being opened and acted upon, rather than the standard automated email.

You can also alter the tone of the reminder emails depending on what relationship you have with your customer. For example, you can be more formal or use a more casual tone with customers that you have a good relationship with.

If you're looking for an easy way to get paid by your customers, we recommend using Chaser's credit control software.

9. You’re not picking up the phone 

While sending automated email reminders will definitely help, there are times when you will need to pick up the phone and call your customers. This is especially true if they have a history of paying late.

When it comes to picking up the phone we understand that it can be a daunting task. It’s easy to put it off, but we’re here to tell you that having a conversation with your customer will do wonders in getting paid on time.

Once you do pick up the phone, we do have some advice we can offer.

Make sure you have all the details you need before you call. This will make the conversation easier for both parties and will also help avoid any confusion as to why your customer is being contacted.

Always be polite and professional. No matter how upset you may be, remember that the person on the other end is still a customer.

If possible, try to get a commitment from your customer. This could be anything from setting up a payment plan to paying in full immediately.

Last but not least, always document any conversations you have with your customers. This will help you keep track of what has been agreed, and is also a good way to refresh your memory if we do need to follow up with them.

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Using the right tools to get paid

Understanding the most common reasons why you haven't received payment from your customers can help you take the appropriate steps to ensure that you're paid in full.

With Chaser, you can overcome many of the payment challenges you face as a business. Chaser is the best way to receive payment online, and we can help you get paid quickly and easily.

Sign up for your free Chaser trial today and start getting paid faster!


Understanding the most common reasons why you haven't received payment from your customers can help you take the appropriate steps to ensure that you're paid in full.

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