Problems with payment conversion?

Running a business is like riding a roller coaster. There will be highs and lows from the start. Sadly, one of those lows is often a client not paying you on time. It’s an uncomfortable topic but one best addressed head on.

Whether it’s for a simple freelancer invoice or a large development project, your business can benefit from following an established overdue invoice process. That means you can keep your attitude toward customers consistent while spending less time drafting lengthy custom emails.

This article will explain the best way to go about recovering funds from clients, as well as covering some overdue invoice letter templates that you may want to use.

How Your Language Affects Payment Conversion

No matter the industry, one thing is clear: customers demand respect. You must choose your language carefully in all instances of business-to-customer communication. 

Always give your customers the benefit of the doubt, as you don’t know what factors could be holding up payment on their end. Always be polite, provide the necessary resources, and offer a line of direct communication. Then, your customers will feel respected, making overdue payment conversion much more likely. 

Chart: Good experiences are more likely to change consumer behavior than bad ones.
Image sourced from

Establishing a Standard Set of Reminder Letters

You’ll benefit from having a standardized process for chasing overdue payments. It’s helpful to have several email templates to request payment from customers before, on, and after the invoice due date. Your language may then be adjusted to drive the best possible outcome. 

At the earlier stages in the process, a more conversational tone can help to drive action. Later in the process, you might consider being formal in your approach, adopting a more neutral tone. Both approaches are useful during the process, but it’s important to know when to use each one. 

Conversational Formal

Full words

Follows the rules

Passive voice

Complex words

Third person



Breaks grammar rules

Active voice

Simple words

Personal pronouns

In the examples below, we demonstrate the appropriate language and tone for each stage.

Example 1: Initial notification

Hi [customer name],

We hope you’re happy with the [product/service] provided recently.

Here at [company name], we value our customers, and your business is no exception. In fact, [personal anecdote relating to the matter].

This letter is a friendly reminder of the upcoming due date for your payment; specifically, your order of [invoice #], which is due on January 15, 2023. You should have received this invoice by email on January 15, 2023.

We would appreciate it if you could look into this matter to ensure payment is received promptly.

If you can’t locate the invoice or have noticed an error, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [customer service phone/email]. Our customer service reps are always happy to help!

Thank you in advance for taking care of this.

Kind regards,


[company name]

When to send:

Any point before the invoice due date.

What this accomplishes:

This letter is meant as a notification of an upcoming payment due date. There is no legal obligation for the customer to pay you at this point, so you should focus on fostering a positive relationship with the client instead. A personalized reference to an anecdote on their order would be a nice touch and is likely to encourage prompt payment.

Example 2: Call to action

Dear [customer name],

This email is a friendly reminder that payment for [invoice #] is due today. Our systems show that the funds have not yet landed in our account.

If you have not yet sent payment, please refer to the invoice for instructions. You can find this by searching your inbox for [invoice #], which was sent on January 15, 2023.

We value your business, so if there is anything we can do to assist you, please reach out to us at [customer service phone/email]. 

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Kind regards,


[company name]

When to send:

On the invoice due date.

What this accomplishes:

This letter is the first communication where you demand action from the client. Open by referring to the letter as a ‘friendly reminder’, thus signifying you intend to give them the benefit of the doubt.

You should then provide them with all the necessary information, like how and where to make the payment and a contact number for queries. You might also find it appropriate to offer alternative payment methods at this point. 

Example 3: Overdue reminder

Dear [customer name],

This email is a reminder that payment for [invoice #] is overdue.

As of today, we have not yet received payment for the invoice, nor have we received any correspondence relating to the matter.

We recognize the possibility that you may have already submitted this payment, in which case you may disregard this notice.

If you have not yet sent the payment, we ask that you give it your prompt attention now.

Of course, please don’t hesitate to reach out on [customer service phone/email] should you require assistance, or have any questions or concerns. Our team is always happy to help however we can.

Kind regards,


[company name]

When to send:

1-5 days after the invoice due date.

What this accomplishes:

At this point, the payment from the customer has officially passed the deadline set out in the invoice. You should open the letter by clearly stating this fact.

Since the deadline has not long passed, you must maintain the same level of respect and friendliness as in your previous letters. It is entirely likely that they have simply overlooked the invoice, so a reminder is hopefully all that will be needed. 

Example 4: First warning

Dear [customer name],

We are writing to inform you that [invoice #] is now [time] overdue.

Our company has reached out to you multiple times requesting payment for the [product/service] that you received on January 15, 2023. However, as of writing, the funds still have not landed in our account.

You can make this payment today by referring to the instructions on the invoice email sent on January 15, 2023. Please respond to this email if you require us to send another copy.

We understand the financial limitations facing businesses and individuals today. Should you require assistance, our company offers multiple payment plans that you may find helpful. If that is the case, please reach out to us on [customer service phone/email] to get in touch with one of our reps today.

Note that penalties may apply if we do not hear back from you.

I would appreciate your prompt attention to this matter, and I look forward to your response.



[company name]

When to send:

1-2 weeks after the invoice due date.

What this accomplishes:

It has now been a significant amount of time since the deadline for payment has passed. This suggests that your client has either ignored your requests or is having problems with fulfilling the transaction.

You should address this by remaining cooperative, pointing to financial assistance such as alternative payment plans. You should also offer them a legal release of liability from penalty charges should they respond, hopefully opening the door to a prompt reply. 

Example 5: Final Warning

Dear [customer name],

This is our final reminder relating to your overdue balance of [$ amount].

Our [invoice #] requested payment on [due date]. However, as of writing, these funds have still not arrived, meaning the payment is [time] overdue. Per the terms of our contract, we are now entitled to levy penalties on your overdue balance.

Please note that this is a matter of last resort, and we want to work with you to finalize this matter.

You can make the payment today by referring to the original invoice email sent on January 15, 2023, and promptly informing us on [customer service phone/email]. We are happy to make adjustments for you, such as setting up a payment plan.

If we do not hear back from you within [timeframe], we will have to flag your account to our collections team.

Best regards,


[company name]

When to send:

1 month after the invoice due date.

What this accomplishes:

If all else fails, it is time for you to confront your client with a final reminder. This essentially briefs them on the contract they signed, their obligations, and the next steps. The emphasis here is on reaching out to the customer, perhaps waiving a penalty fee for a timely response. It also serves as a warning on what will happen should they continue to ignore you.

Remember The Power of Language

The language you use to communicate with your customers significantly impacts their behavior. 

By remaining friendly in the early stages, you raise your chances of fast payment and encourage repeat business. It contrasts with the later stages, which tend to go heavier on the legal jargon, simply stating the facts of the case (like you might see in a property lease template, for example).

At any point, you should remember your priorities and opt to settle the matter cooperatively. That means providing them with contact details for customer service at every step and maintaining respectful language.

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