How to politely ask for payment of an invoice | 6 email templates

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    How to politely ask for payment of an invoice | 6 email templates

    The invoice is the final step in a well-executed business transaction. It's at this point that both parties should be happy, as the customer has received what they asked for and you've been paid. But if your invoices aren't getting paid, then it can be frustrating to chase payments politely without being rude or aggressive.

    This blog post will give you advice and templates for how to ask for payment of an invoice politely so that everyone feels respected and valued.

    As an accounts receivable professional you can influence the speed at which these elements are resolved. Polite and direct engagement is key. Many overdue notices come across as automated and are perceived as cold and impersonal, therefore easily ignored. We have created six email templates to politely ask for invoice payments, and get overdue invoices paid.

    1) Preventing late payments before your invoice is overdue

    Email is usually the best way to ask for payment. Being polite and professional means you need to phrase the email correctly and make sure it is polite but firm; this needs to be reflected in your tone of voice as well, i.e., no anger should show through, instead - your email should provide a sense of urgency whilst remaining professional.

    It is imperative to start effective invoicing communication as soon as your invoice is issued. Utilize this communication to verify your point of contact, supply all necessary payment information, confirm your payment terms, invoice details - and ensure they have all necessary information to approve and make payment on time. In your before-due payment reminder email, you can also politely ask your customer to confirm receipt of the email, and ask them to share any anticipated payment delays in advance. 

    Subject Line: Upcoming Charge Reminder - Processing {calendar date} 

    Dear {first name},

    Thank you for choosing {your business name} to provide {description of service or product}. I am writing to confirm your charge of {charge amount} which will be invoiced on {invoice date}. If you would put me in contact with your accounts payable team I would be happy to ensure they directly receive a copy of the invoice for timely resolution of payment. If there are any further details you require, or changes you wish to request please don’t hesitate to contact me at {phone number}. 


    It is my pleasure to work with you and I appreciate you taking the time to confirm receipt of this message, and letting us know in advance any anticipated payment delays.

    Kind Regards,
    {Signature}

     

    2) Copy of invoice 

    Once the invoice is created, send the digital version to the primary point of contact and copy any accounting team members for which they’ve provided contact information. This communication should again exude a helpful, polite tone and gratitude for the partnership and being chosen as a vendor. The email must set proper expectations for payment terms and expected next steps. 

    Subject Line: Invoice Attached - Please process by {due date}

    Dear {first name} and team, 

    Please find a copy of your invoice {Invoice number} due {due date} attached for the amount of {amount due}. Please remit payment at your earliest convenience prior to the due date. If you need additional information on making r payments please let me know. We are here to answer any questions. 

    You can reach me at {phone number}. Please note that payments received more than {number of day grace period} will be considered past-due and {specify overdue fees or escalation point such as they will go to collections}. 

    Thank you for choosing {your company name} and we are looking forward to continuing our partnership.

    Kind Regards,
    {Signature}

     

     

     

    3) On your invoice payment due date

    Providing grace is a key in collecting overdue payments quickly. Although not receiving payments on time can be frustrating, always ensure you remain polite - do not jump to aggressive terminology or overly emotional language that could damage your client relationships, reputation, or chances of repeat business. 

    Continue the conversation in a transitionally professional candor and demonstrate that you are assuming positive intent from your client. Knowing when to chase customers’ invoices and expect payment will be contingent on the payment terms agreed by you and your customer and set out in your credit control policy.

    Subject Line: Missing Payment Information - Due {today’s date}

    Dear {first name},

    I hope you are doing well. I am checking in on invoice {invoice number} due today {today’s date}. My team does not have a record of receiving the payment as of yet and I’m hoping you can connect with me with the right people to track down where it may have gotten stuck. 

    If payment has already been made please let me know the date and any specific information I can use to help find it on my end. If payment is still pending we can extend a {number of days grace period} grace period to help get that settled. 

    I’ve re-attached the invoice to this message and am happy to coordinate efforts if anyone in your organization has questions.

    Thank you,

    {Signature}

     

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    4) When your invoice is overdue

    Once an invoice is past due it is important to communicate the urgency of resolving the error while continuing to extend professional courtesy and maintain a polite tone. The right tenor of payment follow up message can ensure that resolving the outstanding payment does not interrupt new sales opportunities and rapport with the direct point of contact. Often, it is not the primary point of contact who is withholding the payment, rather, it is stuck in their accounts payable process. 

    Subject Line: Overdue Invoice - Please Resolve

    Dear {first name} and team,

    Unfortunately your invoice {invoice number} for {amount due} is past due as of {due date}. Please remit payment as soon as possible. An overdue fee of {overdue fee} has been added to your account.

    If there has been an error please let me know so we can resolve that together.

    We enjoyed providing {description of service} and look forward to future opportunities working together. Please let me know what I can do to assist in resolving the past-due invoice. 

    For questions call {phone number}.

    Sincerely,
    {Signature}

     

    If you’re having trouble keeping track of a number of overdue invoices, keep on top of them with an invoice tracker in google sheets or excel manually, or use a credit control software to keep on top of this automatically.

    5) Escalating overdue invoices

    If none of the previous emails have elicited effective responses it’s important to escalate the matter. Utilizing executive titles captures the attention of latent payers and can emphasize the importance of the matter at hand. 

    This works on both sides, involving your executives as well as those at the invoicee’s business. Ensure this is done tactfully as this can be an extremely sensitive approach, involving someone else’s leadership can place them in a hazardous spotlight and ruin any rapport you have built. It is essential to carefully-word these messages when reaching out to more senior staff at your clients’ business and ensure you still maintain a polite and professional tone.

    Before leaning into executive involvement utilize effective payment chasing phone call scripts to try to engage your contact directly. 

    From: {Executive Name and Title}

    Subject Line: Seeking resolution of past due invoice

    Dear {first name},

    It’s come to my attention that there is a missing payment for invoice {invoice number}. My team has attempted to reach out but has been unable to resolve the matter. I am making myself available to coordinate on this error and ensure timely resolution. If your Head of Finance could give me a call I can be reached at {phone number}.

    We appreciate you choosing {your business name} and would like to maintain a beneficial relationship that can serve you again in the future. If there are any issues with the services received please let me know directly.

    If unable to make payment at this time please let us know what date to expect your payment so we can ensure your bill does not go to collections.

    Kind Regards,
    {Executive Signature}

     

     

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    6) Past-due invoice negotiations

    Once the invoice is severely outstanding it becomes more important to minimize the financial risk for your company than to push for full-payment. Negotiation, especially in the case of unsatisfied clients, is a tool companies can use to recoup at minimum the cost associated with the provided services. Emails regarding negotiation should not sound desperate. Instead you want to be extending a gracious offer in hope of quick resolution and mutual compromise. Start with offering payment plan options and if necessary extend a discount. 

    Subject Line:  Payment plan options for invoice {invoice number}

    Dear {first name}, 

    I am writing in regards to an overdue invoice {invoice number}. Before having to involve a collection agency I wanted to try one last time to engage you in discussion on a mutually beneficial resolution for this overdue payment. I have spoken to my head of finance and received approval to extend a payment plan option. Depending on what works for your accounts payable we can coordinate on getting this formally arranged.

    To take advantage of this offer I will need confirmation before {date of sending to collections}. If I receive no communication before that date your debt will be sent to a commercial debt collection agency. 

    Please reach out with any further questions. You can reach me at {phone number}.

    Kind Regards,
    {Signature}

     

    Avoid using empty threats in your payment reminders and ensure you have a reliable, friendly debt recovery service provider ready should you need to escalate outstanding invoices to debt collections. If your business is new to using debt recovery services, ensure you have the right information to-hand on commercial debt collections, to help you select the right provider.

    Being proactive, consistent, and polite when asking for payment of an invoice via email can make all the difference in collecting payments before it becomes an issue. If you’d like to extend additional grace to customers during your payment chasing process, and give them more chances to pay, there are 10 more payment chasing templates available here

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