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How to Write a Polite Late Payment Email to Clients

Are you dealing with unpaid invoices from your clients? If your client hasn’t been paying within a set period, sending a late payment email may get the results you need.

However, making sure your reminder email remains courteous while asking for funds is crucial to making payment collection easier.

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One of the best writing strategies for this type of email is to display professionalism and ask clients for late payments with a respectful tone.

In this blog post, we will share tips on writing a polite late payment email to help you get paid and maintain a positive relationship with your clients.

Don’t be afraid about sending late payment emails

Late payments are among the most challenging problems many businesses face today, with as many as 87% of companies paying late. 

Small or large, these late payments can harm small businesses and solo freelancers who need to maintain a steady cash flow. 

Chasing late payments can be an uncomfortable and awkward experience, causing many to feel hesitant or even embarrassed about pursuing what is rightfully owed to them. 

But it’s important to remember that late payments can significantly impact your financial health and that you have every right to follow up on unpaid invoices. 

By being assertive and persistent in pursuing payment, you demonstrate the value of your work and send a message that you expect to be treated professionally and fairly. 

So don’t be shy about chasing late payments — it’s a necessary part of doing business and essential for maintaining financial stability.

Besides, holding your clients accountable is just as important, and often these payment issues are a matter of communication. 

Many clients miss payments simply because they forget about a due date or lose an invoice, and it can all be easily solved with a polite email reminder.

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6 tips for writing a polite but firm late payment email

1. Use a clear and direct email subject line

When sending an email for late payments, you want to be simple and take a no-nonsense approach. 

For example, be direct and mention the invoice in the subject line, as this can immediately catch the client’s attention and remind them about the missed payment. 

So include your company name or invoice number to provide additional context for the email. Here are some example subject lines you can refer to 

2. Start with a friendly opening or greeting

It can be worrying and frustrating to know that your work is not paid, but it is essential to maintain proper email etiquette. 

Start the email with a polite greeting, and remember that you want to ask for payment while still maintaining the possibility of future opportunities with clients.

In the beginning, you can just send a soft reminder like: 

“I hope this email finds you well. I am following up regarding the payment for the invoice due on [insert date]. I understand things may have gotten busy, and I hope we can work together to resolve this matter.”

This statement acknowledges that the payment has yet to be received and will help set a friendly tone for the rest of the email.

3. Attach invoice or payment details

When sending out your reminder email, providing details like the unpaid invoice number, the amount owed, and the new due date can be helpful. 

“I am writing because our records show an outstanding balance of [amount] for [invoice number], which was due on [insert date]. As this payment is now [number of days] overdue, we would like to bring this account to close. The original invoice is attached in case you did not receive the original notification.”

Attaching the invoice or payment link can help clients make quick payments and understand the urgency of the situation.

4. Follow up and note the consequences of late payment

If you are still not receiving a response after sending the initial email, don’t be afraid to send a follow-up reminder. 

The best follow-up time is three days to one week after your first email. At this point, be clear to the client that you are firm about settling the payment. 

If that doesn’t work, send another reminder in two weeks, then one month later. 

While you should be polite, avoid beating around the bush. Be direct and note that the invoice email is the final warning. 

It is also worth noting that if an invoice is overdue by more than 30 days, you may have the legal right to add late payment interest to the outstanding amount. 

Otherwise, include a final cut-off date and outline the consequences of non-payment. Because simply reminding the client of this can motivate them to pay.

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5. Offer alternative payment solutions

Sometimes, all your client needs is flexibility. If the client is experiencing financial difficulties, offering payment plans or alternative payment methods can help them meet their obligations.

You can specifically draw their attention to these options by suggesting them: 

“In addition to reminding you about the outstanding balance of [amount] for [invoice number], which was due on [due date] and is now [amount of time] overdue, I would like to offer an alternative payment solution.

If you cannot make the full payment at this time, we would be happy to work with you to set up a payment plan that fits your financial situation. Please let us know if this is something you would be interested in, and we can provide you with more information on how to proceed.”

6. Show gratitude and end on a positive note

Once the payment is made, close the email on a positive note by thanking the client for their attention and expressing your appreciation for their business. 

You can also emphasize the importance of timely payment. Politely and professionally, explain why it is essential for you to receive payment on time. 

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, and we appreciate your continued timely payments to allow our business to run smoothly and continue providing you quality service.”

How to prevent late payments in the future?

At last, polite late payment emails are only band-aid solutions. To avoid late payments from happening again in the future, you need to communicate properly with your client.

Draft an agreement and establish clear payment terms, including due dates and consequences for late payment. Make sure this info is clear to clients before any work is delivered. 

Another strategy to consider is offering incentives for advance payments, such as discounts or rewards, to encourage clients to pay on time or before schedule.

Still, you will likely meet clients who need to pay on time.  

Creating a schedule for unpaid invoice reminders can make it easier to chase invoices. You can use invoicing and payment collection services like InvoiceBerry, or do it manually. 

Either way, preparing an email schedule and relevant email messages can make payments more manageable. 

Here are some effective professional email samples using copywriting basics to help you request payment without affecting client relationships.

Polite payment reminder email templates

1. A quick reminder before the invoice due date

Dear [Client],
I hope this email finds you well. This is to remind you that the payment for [invoice number] is due on [insert due date].
We appreciate your business and want to make sure that everything is in order. If you have already made the payment, please disregard this email.
If you have yet to make the payment, kindly do so before the due date to avoid any late fees or penalties. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the payment, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. We look forward to continuing our business relationship.
Best regards,[Your Name]

2. A day after the invoice is overdue

Dear [Client],
I hope this email finds you well.
I am writing to follow up on [invoice number], which has a balance of [amount] and was due on [due date]. As of today, the payment is [number of days] overdue.
I understand that delays can happen, and I want to make sure that everything is okay. If there are any issues with the invoice or payment process so we can address them promptly.
If payment has already been made, please disregard this email. If payment has not been made, please settle the balance as soon as possible. I greatly appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.
Thank you for your continued business and support.
Best regards,[Your Name]

3. For long overdue invoices

Dear [Client],
I hope this email finds you well. I am following up on the payment for [invoice number], due on [insert due date]. It has now been [insert number of days] since the due date, and we have yet to receive the payment.
As a valued client, we understand that unforeseen circumstances may arise, which may cause a delay in payment. However, we request that you make the payment as soon as possible to avoid any further delays or inconvenience.
Please note that if we do not receive the payment within the next [insert number of days] days, we may have to take further action to collect the payment, which may include involving a collection agency or taking legal action.
We value our business relationship with you and hope to resolve this matter as soon as possible. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the payment, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Best regards,[Your Name]


Chasing late payments is necessary for doing business. As small business owners and solo freelancers, you must be proactive and take steps to ensure payment is received promptly.

Polite email reminders can be an effective way to ensure payment while maintaining the proper email etiquette. Using these six tips and late payment email templates, you can be confident that you will be professional, respectful, and effective

Adela Belin is a content marketer and blogger at Writers Per Hour. She is passionate about sharing stories with the hope to make a difference in people’s lives and contribute to their personal and professional growth.

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