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How to Write a Payment Reminder Email

Navigating the messaging and timing of a payment reminder email can be intimidating. Here are some tricks and templates to make you a pro!

A woman sending a payment reminder email

Payment reminder emails are tricky.

You have to maintain a balance of being polite enough to maintain a great relationship with your client, but stern enough that your client feels a sense of urgency to pay you.

Whether your client is a week late or a month late on payments, we’re here to help you walk that tightrope.

In this article, we’ll start with some tips for politely asking a client for payment, and then we’ll provide email templates for every stage of the reminder process that are proven to get you paid faster.

Let’s start with some tips!

Tips for Writing an Effective Payment Reminder Email

When you have unpaid invoices, it’s a good idea to respond in a thoughtful way rather than out of frustration. Here are some best practices you can follow for sending email payment reminders to your clients.

#1 – Use a clear subject line

Make your client’s life easier by giving them all the information they need directly from your email’s subject line.

When writing your email subject line:

  • Use clear keywords like “Payment Reminder:” 
  • Include the invoice number
  • Include the payment date

Here’s what that looks like in action:

Subject: Payment Reminder: Invoice #1 – Due October 1

#2 – Re-attach the invoice

Don’t make your client dig through their email history to find the invoice you’re reminding them to pay.

Re-attach the invoice to your email, or provide a link if you’re using online invoices.

If you’re prone to forgetting to add attachments, attach the invoice before you type a single word in your invoice reminder or use a system like HoneyBook that reattaches the invoice file in each payment reminder email automatically!

#3 – Start with a polite introduction

You don’t want to come off as too cold. Start your email with a polite and personal introduction. This ensures that you’re sending a friendly reminder for payment. 

That can be as simple as greeting the client by name and then including a single line wishing them well.

For example:

Hi {Client Name},

I hope you’re well!

It’s okay to use exclamation marks, but use them sparingly.

#4 – Make the payment terms clear

The most important part of your email is to remind the client how much is due, and when the payment is (or was) due.

Don’t be vague: include the exact due date of the invoice and avoid making confusing statements like “due on receipt.” If you have to send multiple reminders, continue to update the length of time, whether it’s a day overdue, a week or more. Doing so will help you document the late payment in case you need to refer back to your reminders.

For example:

This is a reminder that Invoice #1, totalling $1,000, is due on October 1.

#5 – Include details on how to pay

While you may include payment details on the invoice itself, you should also include a clear call to action on how to pay in the email body.

For example:

Payment can be made via credit card, cash, or check.

Bonus tip: By using an online payment software like HoneyBook, you can give your clients a convenient link to pay directly from your reminder email.

#6 – Confirm receipt (optional)

If this isn’t your first reminder, you may want to use this opportunity to check with your client that they have actually received your invoice. 

Not only does it give you peace of mind, it’s also a convenient way to shift the conversation to something other than “please pay me.”

For example:

Can you please confirm receipt of this invoice? I’d like to confirm I have the right contact details for payments.

If you’ve already received a reply to a previous email from the client, you could modify this past due invoice email to ask your client when you should expect to receive payment.

consider the timing of your payment reminder email

#7 – Include consequences of late payment (optional)

If the payment is late, you may have to warn your client of the consequences of a late payment in your overdue invoice reminder email. Unless the payment is really late, try not to sound too threatening.

For example:

As a reminder of the payment terms, a late fee of 5% will be applied for every week the overdue payment is not paid.

Note though, that late payment terms should be established at the start of your working relationship—ideally in an online contract.

For more tips on late payments, check out our blog on what to do when your client doesn’t pay on time.

#8 – Keep the copy short and friendly

Payment reminder emails should stay friendly, professional, short, and informative.

Before sending your email, review it to ensure everything you say comes off as polite. Avoid using pronouns like “you”, as they can end up sounding accusatory in nature. Instead, use passive, positively framed language.

For example:

Don’t say: You have to pay me by October 1.

Say: Payment is due by October 1.

And don’t forget a nice sign off in your friendly payment reminder letter!

#9 – Send at the right time

Try to send your reminder email at a time of day when your client is most likely to read it and action it.

For example, if your client works typical 9-to-5 office hours, don’t send your invoice reminders at 5 pm on a Friday. Send your emails first thing in the morning on Monday or Tuesday.

#10 – Take advantage of automated emails

If you’re worried about coming on too strong, de-personalize the email process by sending automated email reminders with HoneyBook. A neutral “system message” takes the job of finger-pointing away from you and places the burden on an automated system.

But you don’t want to de-personalize completely. With HoneyBook, you can send a mix of personal and automated emails to see what works best for each client.

And HoneyBook includes convenient dynamic fields like the client’s first name so that you can create seemingly personalized email sequences that go out to all your clients.

So not only do you increase your chances of getting paid on time, you can also spend less time writing emails.

Pro Tip: If all this feels too daunting to do on your own, use a HoneyBook Pro to help with copy for your reminder emails and automate when they send!

When Should You Send Payment Reminder Emails?

How many invoice payment reminder emails should you send?

The exact number of emails and when you send them will vary based on your business and how likely your clients are to pay their invoices on time, but it’s best to send reminder emails before the payment is due, the date the payment is due, and after the payment is due (if necessary).

Here’s an example payment reminder email cadence:

  • Advanced payment reminder email: sent a week before the payment due date
  • Due date payment reminder email: sent on the due date
  • First late payment reminder email: sent a week after the payment due date
  • Second late payment reminder email: sent two weeks after the payment due date
  • Third late payment reminder email: sent a month after the payment due date

By keeping a predictable and regular email reminder cadence, you’ll establish the professionalism and value of your business—showing your client that you take getting paid seriously.

For more tips, check out our blog on how to remind clients to pay an invoice.

Two women writing a polite payment reminder email

Example Payment Reminder Email Templates

Here are some useful payment reminder email templates that are proven to get you paid faster. Using a great payment reminder mail format is the key to get you started.

Step #1 – Advanced Payment Reminder Email

Sending this email a week in advance is a great signal to your client that you expect to be paid on time. For your first payment reminder email, keep it polite, short, and informative.

Here’s how to write a great one-week reminder email:

Copy/Paste Template:

One-Week Reminder Email

Hi Maria,

I hope you’re doing well! This is a friendly reminder that invoice #1, totalling $1,000, is due for payment on October 1—one week from today.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the invoice or payment details.

Thank you,

Rick Roberts

Why this template is great: In this email, you don’t need to be too aggressive. In this case, we didn’t attach the invoice or include payment details, as we assumed the client has this information and is prepared to pay on time.

Sample #2 – Due Date Payment Reminder Email

It’s also advisable to send an email on the date the invoice is due. In this case, you still want to keep it friendly, but you should include more payment details.

Here’s a great example of a payment reminder email on the payment due date:

Copy/Paste Template:

Due Date Reminder

Subject: Payment Reminder: Invoice #01 – Due Today

Hi Maria,

Good morning! I just wanted to remind you that invoice #1, totaling $1,000, is due for payment today (October 1). 

I’ve reattached the invoice for your convenience. Payment can be made by direct deposit, bank transfer, or check.

Best wishes,

Rick Roberts

Why this template is great: Because the client still hasn’t paid by the due date, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to pay you by providing the total balance, how to pay you, and the original invoice. But you can still keep the payment reminder message light and friendly, because they still have the chance to pay you today.

Sample #3 – One Week Late Payment Reminder Email

Once the client has reached a week without paying you, you have the green light to shift to a firmer tone.

Here’s how to write a late payment reminder email:

Copy/Paste Template:

One-Week Reminder

Subject: Payment Reminder: Invoice #01 – One Week Overdue

Hi Maria,

I hope all is well. My records indicate that I have yet to receive payment for invoice #1, totalling $1,000. The invoice was due on October 1st, making it a week overdue.

I’ve reattached the invoice for your convenience. Payment can be made by direct deposit, bank transfer, or check.

Best wishes,

Rick Robers

Why this template is great: Once again, this past due invoices email sample  gives the client everything they need to know to be able to pay you. Note that it’s worded as “I have yet to receive payment,” neutralizing the issue of the late payment and not placing any blame on your client.

Sample #4 – Two Week Late Payment Reminder Email

Now’s the time to start applying some pressure to your client:

Copy/Paste Template:

Two-Week Reminder

Subject: Payment Reminder: Invoice #01 – Two Weeks Overdue

Hi Maria,

As per my previous email reminders, payment for invoice #1, totalling $1,000, is now two weeks overdue. I’ve reattached the invoice for your convenience. Payment can be made by direct deposit, bank transfer, or check.

As I’ve yet to hear back from you regarding this payment, can you please reply to this email to confirm receipt of this invoice? Thank you!

Best wishes,

Rick Roberts

Why this template is great: This email shifts to a more serious tone, but stays professional. It highlights the fact that several reminders have been met with silence by the client. It also asks the client to reply, which opens the door for a conversation with the client, and avoids any potential miscommunications (for example, having the wrong contact information).

Sample #5 – One Month Late Payment Reminder Email

After a month without payment, it’s time to be more direct:

Copy/Paste Template:

One-Month Reminder

Subject: Payment Reminder: Invoice #01 – One Month Overdue

Hi Maria,

This is a third late payment reminder to inform you that payment for invoice #1, totalling $1,000, is now one month overdue.

Please note that I now have the right to charge a 5% late fee, as per the payment terms outlined at the start of our engagement. I am willing to waive this fee if payment is made within the next 2 business days.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions regarding this invoice.

Best wishes,

Rick Roberts

Why this template is great: This email is direct and stern, but stays professional and kind. It highlights there may be consequences if payment isn’t issued immediately, but it presents this as a natural consequence of the payment terms rather than framing it as a threat against the clients. It also stays impersonal and refrains from accusing the client of any wrongdoing.

Last Words on Friendly Reminder Emails

The balance with sending gentle reminders is making sure they’re still efficient. By following our tips above, the key is making your emails specific and automated. By using automation, you won’t have to stress about asking your clients to pay over and over again. And with more specificy about the amount date and how to pay, you can count on cash flow from those clients who might have just forgotten.

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